A request to convert the northwest baseball field at the Prairie City Recreation Complex to a softball style field will move forward for the next season. Labeled Field 4, the city council approved taking out the grass infield and making it usable for both little league baseball and softball teams.
“It currently has a grass infield and was set up as a baseball field,” park board member Natalie Owens said. “Over the years it has ... gone in disrepair. Little league hasn’t used it in two or three because it hasn’t been safe to use.”
She said the past few years they have a had softballs tournaments at the rec complex and it would have been nice to use all four fields instead of the three that are currently available.
“It is where people come with young families from out of town and it doesn’t look very appealing,” Owens said. “Everybody loves the complex in general, but it’s just kind of an eyesore.”
The board obtained three quotes for the work from Iowa Cubs Sports Turf, Iowa Athletic Field Construction Company and HK Sports Fields. The low bid of $17,150 was submitted by Iowa Cubs Sports Turf, who also has done work for the school district at its fields.
“They are also the most flexible for us,” Owens said. “They told us that ours is a very small two-day job so if they have a job in northern Iowa and there is a whole bunch of rain and can’t work there, they could work us into that spot even if we aren’t on the schedule. It is a possibility we could still get it done this spring.”
While high school baseball and slow-pitch softball will not be able to use the field due to sizing and fence requirements, it will open up availability for softball if needed. Having the fourth field will also provide more flexibility to the scheduling calendar for the many teams looking to get some work in.
“We use an online schedule and those fields are and booked up. The online registration opened up Jan. 15 and you can probably look at that schedule between March and April and it is already half filled,” Owens said. “To add another field to that mix, that could add potentially add another three practices a night.”
With the conversion, the field will get a Jox Box at home plate to help with durability of the batter’s box area.
“It is digging a square for a batter’s box that is about four to six inches deep and then setting a box in there, kind of like turf,” park board member Tom Schendel said. “That way you don’t get the wear and tear and the holes in the batter’s box.”
An exact time frame for the work has not been set but the board hopes it will be completed before the spring seasons starts.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org