The Grand County Council discussed the roles of management of the planned park near the Old Spanish Trail Arena at their Tuesday, Feb. 5 meeting.
The Grand County Recreation Special Service District (GCRSSD) was awarded a $923,500 Community Impact Board grant in 2012 to build the park. The GCRSSD will fund the remaining balance of the project, which is estimated to be $1.2 million. The project includes two ball fields, two soccer fields, a scorekeepers building, restroom and concessions building, pavilion and smaller picnic pavilions.
“This project is happening,” said council administrator Ruth Dillon. “Sod may be laid in spring. The park may be opened in the fall.”
The county’s planning commission will accept comment regarding the park at their meeting 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13. If they choose to recommend a conditional use permit, it will go before the county council for review at their meeting Mar. 5.
GCRSSD chair Mike Steele and Old Spanish Trail Arena manager Steve Swift met with the council at the their meeting to discuss the division of responsibilities.
At this time, the county owns the facilities and equipment and pays staff salaries. The GCRSSD pays for equipment and improvements. The council and Steele agreed that the same responsibilities should remain during the construction and maintenance of the park.
“It is important to know this is an expansion of what is already there,” Steele said. “We are trying to complete a project that was started years ago.”
In 1999 the Grand County Recreation Survey prepared by the USU Extension, stated the 30 percent of the county’s population lived in Spanish Valley. Fifty-one percent of the respondents preferred some combination of recreation facilities in Moab and a county-wide facility. Thirty-five percent of the respondents said they wanted it to be part of the Old Spanish Trail Arena.
Steele and Manual Torres joined the GCRSSD board seven 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. He said their final project was to complete the park.
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.
A masterplan for the Old Spanish Trail Arena commissioned by the recreation district was released in 2003, which included baseball diamonds and soccer fields.
The council and recreation district worked closely together in 2008 to develop park space at the Old Spanish Trail Arena. The council discussed the concept and more specifically the ownership, maintenance, water rights, construction and drainage at the proposed park space.
The last interlocal agreement between the council and the special service district board was drafted in 2008.
“We don’t need a new agreement. We just need to update it,” Steele said. “We don’t want to treat this as a separate property.”
The council asked if additional personnel would be required to maintain the park.
“We can manage it as it is for the first year,” Swift said. “It is naive to think that this won’t expand. We may need an additional staff member in the future. If we charge for events, we may offset the costs in the future.”
The park is intended for non-formal recreation.
“The city does not plan to provide programming for the facility,” said Moab city manager Donna Metzler.
However, Steele said that space for sports is limited.
“As a youth coach you’re looking for space,” Steele said regarding teams that may be looking for places to practice. “Build it and they will come.”
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.