Rec district considers Eagle County Fairgrounds ballfield complex improvements
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To weigh in on the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District’s plans for the Eagle County Fairgrounds ballfields project, visit one of these two links.
EAGLE — At some point in the relatively near future, the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District’s ballfield complex at the Eagle County Fairgrounds will be relocated so the gravel resources underneath can be mined.
But no one really knows when that will happen, and in the meantime, the much-used facility is showing both its age and its inadequacies.
“We want to be cautious about planning for it, but it could be some time before the facilities move,” WECMRD director Janet Bartnik said. “There is no time frame for mining at this point.”
The fairgrounds complex houses two dedicated little league baseball/softball fields, one artificial turf multi-use field and one full-size baseball/softball field that can be converted to multi-use field space as needed.
The centrally located concessions and rest room facility has plumbing issues and has not been utilized for concessions in many years.
Redesign the areas
There is a small playground on site, with shade structure, that is also not well utilized or protected from hazards. The WECMRD Board wants to redesign the areas outside the fields to create a more inviting and functional space suited to tournament and league activities for families.
Bartnik said when asked about possible improvements at the fairgrounds site, facility users were clear about what they wanted.
“People really want shade, they want improved restrooms, and people really want batting cages,” she said.
With that input collected, Bartnik noted that WECMRD has compiled two alternatives for fairgrounds fields improvements.
In both plans, the current restroom/concessions area is expanded, the batting cages are added and picnic/team hangout areas are provided. Alternative A includes a gateway entrance to the facility while Alternative B features curved walkways meant to reflect the river next to the facility.
Both options are likely in the $2 million range, and the major part of the expense is the restroom/concessions area remodel.
During a meeting with the Eagle County commissioners earlier this month, Bartnik said some of the improvements — shade structures, for example — are planned so they can be moved when the fields are relocated to previously mined parts of the fairgrounds property.
The commissioners noted the fairgrounds fields are a popular feature that could use some TLC.
“It is a really nice amenity. My son has played soccer out there, and we are lucky to have it,” Commissioner Jill Ryan said. “The facility is super functional as it is, but the improvements could make it that much better. I am glad that shade came up.”
As WECMRD considers what will ultimately happened at the ballfields complex, Bartnik said the district wants to hear from its users.
Residents are welcome to weigh in on the ballfields concepts by responding to a survey. The recreation district board of directors will discuss the survey results in December.