Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 5, 1999

Face lift planned for Winsted's baseball field

By Luis Puga

Working with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Winsted Wildcats, the Winsted City Council has applied for an outdoor recreation grant.

The grant is provided by the DNR local grants unit and is available to any city, county, or township. The grant would match 50 percent while local funds provide the rest.

As part of the application process, the city conducted a public hearing last Monday to solicit public input.

City Administrator Aaron Reeves said that of those in attendance, support was strong for the improvements of the field.

The design includes a new concession stand, new sidewalk paths, a new covered picnic area, and landscaping.

The project will also include new public restrooms built into the the concession stand. In total, the cost should be a little shy of $90,000, with half of that paid locally.

The city will be putting up most of the money, with the Wildcats contributing about $5,000 over five years.

The Little League association has also expressed interest in donating, but the amount is not known.

However, how much of the grant money the city will get is not known. The city may receive only part of what it applies for and therefore have to scale back the project. Reeves said that the restrooms are the first priority.

Even if the money comes through, the city is not tied to completing the project. This may depend on whether the city can come up with its portion of the funds. The city can do nothing by the project deadline, Dec. 31, 2001, and simply return the money.

In the future, the city is also considering a covered grandstand. However, it will apply for that money later. Estimated cost would be approximately $100,000 for that project.

The impetus for the project is that a finer facility will allow the city's baseball team to hold regional tournaments. Reeves said that such events could mean extra dollars for the local economy.

Also, the concession stand at the field is in poor condition and needs to be replaced.

After Monday's meeting, the council meet in a brief special meeting to pass the project. Council members expressed the need for doing soil borings on the land because it was originally a swamp land, and that cost will be added to the grant application.

A start date has not been set for the project.

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