Park district plans to turn tennis courts into fastpitch field
By Brian L. Gray
Six worn-out tennis courts are poised to be taken down in order to make room for a new fastpitch field in south Mandan.
The Mandan Park District approved a $350,000 project to remodel the tennis courts immediately west of Faris Field into a softball field.
While the plan was approved, the park district will refrain from removing the tennis courts while it continues to discuss with the school district its needs for tennis courts.
Mandan Parks Director Cole Higlin said there has been an issue with baseball practice spaces, with many of the local programs growing exponentially. The girls fastpitch program, for instance, has grown from 17 members in 2011 to 60 in 2013. “We thought it would be a nice idea to get this field space need addressed, and accommodate as much as we can for the fastpitch program,” he said.
Removing the tennis courts, Higlin said, would mean there would be no tennis courts south of Main Street anymore. Higlin proposed keeping two of the six tennis courts for future use and bringing them up to date. “I think we should do something to keep them there,” he said.
Park Board Commissioner Tracy Porter said while removing the courts would probably mean space issues in the future for the tennis program, renovating the courts is not a wise investment.
“Those courts have served Mandan well, but they’re built on bad ground. So putting money into them is not a good investment,” Porter said.
Other options the school and park districts will explore are adding courts near the Mandan Municipal Golf Course or Fort Lincoln Elementary School. Higlin said building a new court would cost from $150,000 to $200,000 each, while renovating the current two courts would cost around $150,000.
The Mandan Baseball Club has agreed to help cover $100,000 of the ball field costs and repay the park district over 10 years.
In addition to the two tennis courts, the park district will sign a resolution with the school district to build two tennis courts at the lot of land the school district purchased in the Lakewood district. Higlin said the concern here is that there would be no timeline set on when they would be built.
In addition to the field, a $175,000 parking lot will be built. The field will include a field with 30-person capacity bleachers, a practice field, scoreboard and a potential lighting system. Higlin said if games are played here, additional bleachers can be brought in.
The park district has also approved a new scoreboard at the Mandan Memorial Ballpark. The cost for the project will be $35,000, and while the cost will be covered by the park district, the Mandan Baseball Club plans to reimburse the district $7,000 annually over the course of five years.
Higlin said construction of the billboard will take about six weeks and should be done by late fall.