Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 14, 2018

Keosauqua to get new ball fields

Van Buren can now host playoff baseball
By Rusty Ebert, Ledger correspondent | Oct 25, 2017

KEOSAUQUA – The Van Buren Community School board heard a presentation from Joy Padget and John Thornsberry on the new Ferguson Sports Complex under construction.

“For the first time, our community will have a regulation Little League softball field and a regulation high school baseball diamond allowing us to host district and regional games,” Padget said.

The complex will have a concession stand, playground, batting cages, restrooms, equipment storage buildings, picnic tables and bleachers. The bleachers are being constructed by Fox Valley Welding. The city is re-bidding the concession stand, after bids came in above budget estimates, she said.

The complex will cost approximately $1.6 million, of which $1.3 million has been raised, Padget added.

Padget said there is a need for more baseball and softball diamonds, which led to the new sports complex.

Currently, more than 20 teams play on two fields, including T-ball, rookie league softball and baseball, minor league softball and baseball, major league softball and baseball, 10U, 12U and 14U softball and 10U and 12U baseball.

“Expanding to four fields would allow more teams to play on the new fields,” Padget said, including high school and junior high teams.

She noted that the community raised $790,000 for the new Van Buren community pool, $400,000 for a trail system and $60,000 for city park improvements in recent years.

Padget said the city hopes to have at least two youth tournaments during the year, which could generate more than $20,000 to help pay for maintenance.

The fields were constructed by an Iowa Cubs turf management business. It is irrigated and has a special infield surface that allows it to dry quickly.

It was designed with the idea that it could be used by the high school baseball team.

The current baseball field design at Van Buren doesn’t allow for the school to host tournament games, Padget said.

To host a district game, playing fields must be at least 320 feet to center field. The current diamond is 300 feet.

The new field will make that possible, she added.

The city is interested in working with the school district in developing an agreement to allow the school to play its games there.

Thornsberry said he checked with two area schools who have similar agreements for baseball fields.

“Centerville plays its baseball games at the Indian Hills field and they pay $10,000, plus electricity and the college gets the concession stand revenue. Davis County pays $5,500.”

The city of Keosauqua would be responsible for maintenance, Padget added.

Currently, Van Buren has an agreement with Riverview Club for use of the golf course and building at a cost of $6,000. The school receives a grant each year from the Van Buren Foundation to pay half of that, so the actual cost to the school is $3,000, according to superintendent Ewell.

No action was taken as this was for information only, according to board president Andrew Lydolph.

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