A capital improvement request at the city of Derby’s budget hearing this past week could beef up the soccer fields and add practice facilities for baseball and softball at High Park.
A request for $36,750 would reconfigure five existing soccer fields at High Park and add two new youth soccer fields. It will also consolidate 12 youth baseball and softball practice fields, eight of which are scattered across the city in less than ideal locations, said Robert Mendoza, Derby public works director.
Plans for tournament-quality soccer fields will be part of the redevelopment at High Park. In a joint effort with the Derby Recreation Commission, an area for seven soccer fields will be revamped with new grass and irrigation that can be used to host tournaments and potentially increase revenue, Mendoza said.
The city and the DRC have been planning the project together for a few months. Specifics have not been finalized yet, but the DRC has looked into bids for irrigation and improvements to the area where the fields will be located, said Chris Drum, the DRC’s director of facilities.
The project will also relocate four baseball and softball practice fields from Madison Avenue Central Park to allow for its own redevelopment plan. Those four fields and eight others will be moved to the northeast corner of High Park, adjacent to the new soccer fields. Consolidating the practice fields, which are in high demand, will make current use of the city’s property more efficient, Mendoza said.
The city had set aside $50,000 for a master plan to renovate High Park to better use the space for youth sports, but the renovations will cancel the need for that, Mendoza said.
“This will cease the need to re-master the entire park,” he said.
These changes will allow the city to discontinue the use of the fields at Madison Avenue Central Park. The city will also move backstops currently used there to the new practice fields at High Park.
The consolidation will also make it more convenient for parents and for maintenance, Mendoza said.
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