Three, maybe four new baseball fields could be on the horizon for Stephenville City Park.
Officials are discussing the prospect after a local architect told City Council members, during a “work session” earlier this week, that the feasibility of building a restroom near the park’s four existing “t-ball” fields would be too costly.
The proposed location of the restroom would have been four or five feet below the 100-year flood plane, and for the facility to exist without being flooded, it would have to be built up considerably, making it an extremely costly and visually unappealing project.
So the cost, along with the potential ugly outside appearance of the restroom, prompted city leaders to consider a second alternative:
Building the restroom near the existing “Mustang League” and “Bronco League” fields, and Building new “t-ball” fields, to the east, near Graham Street.
“Now our thinking is we can build the restroom by the two new baseball fields … closer to Graham Street, which is a higher elevation than down at the t-ball complex,” said Drew Wells, director of community services for the city of Stephenville.
The restroom would be in the vicinity of where the portable concession stand presently is located, and the city then may leave the existing “t-ball” fields, which were constructed in the late 1980s, for teams to use for practice, Wells said.
“We know we need a minimum of three new fields,” Wells said, “but we will strive to have four.”
During Tuesday’s committee meetings, local architect Fred Parker told the council that “my thoughts are it’s (the proposed restroom) in the wrong place.”
About 18 months ago, the city began looking at four potential locations for restrooms in the park, including one at the “t-ball” complex, one near the “Mustang League” and “Bronco League” fields, one near the amphitheater, and one near the pavilion, Wells said.
Wells said the city’s Park Board recommended the first restroom be built at the “t-ball” complex, especially with 500 children between the ages of 4 and 8 playing in leagues and in need of bathrooms.
“Now instead of building two restrooom facilities and having two sites, we can relocate the fields and have one restroom,” Wells said.
Another key factor, Wells said, is to make sure there is “adequate parking.”
“We need to address some of those issues and make provisions for them,” Wells said.
The council’s Planning and Development Committee voted 4-0 to recommend to the full council that Parker look into the possibility of a restroom near “Mustang League” and “Bronco League” fields.
“We’re tired of using port-a-potties,” council member Mark Murphy said. “We need to spend a little bit of money for the future.”
Murphy said he favors the restroom also including a concession stand and that the city look into fencing and gating the complex, so that tournaments can be held and people can be charged to attend, as happens in other cities.
DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.