Carbondale seeks grant for new ball fields | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale seeks grant for new ball fields

John StroudGlenwood Springs correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

John Stroud/Post IndependentA baseball finds a resting place in the outfield at the Bill Hanks ball field in Carbondale. Expanded sports fields are on tap in Carbondale, perhaps sooner rather than later if the town and the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 are successful in winning a major grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.

CARBONDALE – The loss of one of Carbondale’s larger athletic fields to a planned teacher housing project could result in a boom in new outdoor sports facilities, from ball fields to tennis courts. And it could happen sooner rather than later if the town and school district are successful in obtaining a major state grant.Carbondale trustees last week gave a preliminary go-ahead for town recreation director Jeff Jackel to apply for a grant up to $700,000 through Great Outdoors Colorado’s Local Parks & Outdoor Recreation program to fund the proposed Carbondale Community Sports Complex.The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Board will consider partnering for the grant at its Wednesday, Oct. 28 meeting. The grant would require a 30 percent local match, or about $296,000 to be split between the town and the school district.GOCO’s large grant program only comes around every four years, and Carbondale could be in a good position with the school district partnership to win one of the grants, Jackel said.”For the small investment of $150,000 [town’s share], I’d like to see this happen,” Carbondale Trustee Stacey Bernot said. “And I don’t think it will be a big change in our operation and maintenance from what we’re doing now.”The new sports complex would include:• Four concrete tennis courts (two lighted) near the new Roaring Fork High School.• Reconfiguration of the Bill Hanks Ballfield at the town’s North Face Park to serve as the new RFHS baseball field, as well as accommodate youth leagues and adult softball.• Reconfigure the Ron Patch Field (current high school baseball field) into two multi-purpose softball, youth baseball and soccer fields.• New soccer field for U-10 play at the North Face Park.• New soccer field for U-14 play and two lighted sand volleyball courts on the high school grounds.• A paved trail connecting the various athletic facilities.The total project cost is estimated at $988,000.The idea came about when the school district began planning for replacement of the athletic field between the Third Street Center (former Carbondale Elementary School) and the Bridges Center, where an affordable teacher housing project is being planned.”We knew the town didn’t want to lose any playing fields, so we started to develop two new soccer fields by [Roaring Fork High School],” Re-1 school board member Bill Lamont said.The new high school was completed a few years ago, but most of the open land around it remains undeveloped.That planning led to a broader assessment of playing fields located on school property, not only in Carbondale but in Glenwood Springs and Basalt as well.Re-1 then hired Rich Camp Landscape Architects of Carbondale for $9,000 to develop the Carbondale Sports Complex Master Plan.”When it comes to outdoor recreation facilities, the town has not really done very much over the years and the school fields get used a lot,” Lamont said. “And when you look at demand that exists in the community versus number of facilities, there is a real deficit.”The tennis courts are a big priority,” he said, noting that the old tennis courts along Roaring Fork Drive behind what’s now Carbondale Middle School are unplayable and have been padlocked. That leaves only the two public tennis courts at River Valley Ranch as the town’s only other tennis courts.”We did look at refurbishing those courts, but they are about five to 10 years beyond their lifespan,” he said. However, bringing the old courts back on line is still a possibility, Lamont said.Most of the new fields would be on school district land, with the exception of the new facilities at the North Face Park, which is owned by the town.The state anticipates awarding between $5 million and $7 million through GOCO’s local parks program next year.If successful in obtaining one of the grants, the town would need to revise its inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with the school district for use and maintenance of the facilities.Maintenance would be proportional to use between the schools and town programs, Jackel said. “It will be a lot cleaner than the old IGA,” he said.The deadline for the GOCO grant to be submitted is Dec. 11. Grant awards are to be announced in April of next year. If the town and school district are successful, development of some of the facilities could begin next summer.jstroud@postindependent.com

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