Contractors will begin construction on ball fields at the Old Spanish Trail Arena by the end of August. If weather cooperates for landscaping, sports teams may be able to compete on the grass by next summer.
The outdoor field complex will support two baseball and two soccer fields. The Community Impact Fund Board awarded $923,500 to the Grand County Recreation Special Service District to do this project. The GCRSSD will fund the remaining balance of the project, which is estimated to be $1,200,000. Tri-Hurst Construction of Blanding will be building the ball-complex.
Since 1999 four community surveys had been taken asking residents about recreational needs. In each of these surveys the high need for a multi-use outdoor sports complex was expressed.
Manuel Torres and Mike Steele joined the GCRSSD board six and a half years ago with a goal to get a new recreation center and swimming pool in town and ball fields at the arena.
“Our goal was to complete these projects and move on,” Torres said.
The Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center was completed in 2011. The final project was to complete the ball fields that had been proposed since 1999.
Torres said as the population continues to grow and move south into the Spanish Valley area that the Old Spanish Trail Arena site needs to become more of a multi-use facility, rather than only a horse arena.
In addition to the ball complex, there will also be a 2,148-square-foot scorekeepers building, a 986-square-foot restroom and concessions building, a 110-foot by 140-foot pavilion and smaller picnic pavilions.
“This is more than just a baseball park,” Torres said. “There will be small pavilions for families to have picnics.”
At this time Grand County residents have only the City of Moab’s Center Street Ball Complex for both youth and adult programming. The outdoor-field complex is used nearly year round for football, soccer, baseball and softball. Practices and games have to be precisely scheduled to accommodate the different age groups and teams, as well as different sports that may be playing at the same time of year. During the summer months the complex is used for men, women and children programming and hosts t-ball, softball and baseball games.
The construction of the OSTA Ball Field Complex will decrease congestion at the City of Moab outdoor field complex, as well as provide more opportunities for sports programming and general non-organized recreation for residents, stated the CIB grant application.
“Children games often start playing in over 100-degree weather to accommodate the adults’ games later in the night,” Torres said. “We want to give them a reprieve from the busyness of the ballpark downtown.”
The Grand County Recreation Special Service District budget comes from mineral lease monies from the state of Utah for recreation programs and projects.