Calls for the city council to help fund local ballpark renovation

By  | 

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. - (KNEP) - Scottsbluff 23Club hopes the city can help them flip the bill for an overhaul of the field complex.

According to Board President Geoff Nemnich, the entire project would cost $1.3 million and they currently have over $450,000. The club has a goal to raise $650,000 and are asking the Scottsbluff City of Council to come up with the other $650,000 to make the project a reality.

Nemnich presented to the council at their last meeting on April 15th; who acknowledged the project and are asking City Manager Nathan Johnson to look into ways that they could fund the project.

The complex itself is about 60 years old and has plumbing and electrical issues. There is little to no shade or trees and isn’t handicap accessible. The club, who leases the city-owned park rented handicap accessible porta-potties to help accommodate.

Much of the money the club has already raised has come from community businesses but their donations come with contingencies. First, the city has to approve the funding and secondly the project must be done this year. Nemnich stated the project would start in August or September of this year after the season is over and wrap up around May 1st. The club also received $105,000 in grants that they have applied for.

Talks with the city to get funding for this project have been going on for the last 18 months and Nemnich is optimistic the city is considering the venture.

The project would create an elevated central point at the complex with concrete ramps. A new concession stand along with bathrooms would also be added with different seating available to accommodate parents and visitors watching the games. Nemnich admits the renovation would hinder people from driving up and parking right next to the fields themselves. But, he would like to look into resurfacing a nearby lot behind Scottsbluff High School to offer parking. Nemnich stated right now cars will occasionally get hit by a foul ball but if they could get the parking lot, cars would be better off.

A talking point Nemnich drove home to the council was catering outside teams. Right now, many of the teams not in the area are traveling to Colorado to play because of the facilities there. With a renovation such as this, teams could come in and boost the area’s economy by staying at hotels, eating at local restaurants and taking a Scottsbluff experience back to their respective home.

The City of Gering has already approved the renovations of their own facilities and Nemnich hopes Scottsbluff can do the same. He said they could then try to collaborate and have other opportunities to host potential tournaments.

For right now, 23Club and Nemnich will have to wait and see what the council decides on. Nemnich will be at the next meeting on the 29th where Nathan Johnson is expected to present ideas on where funding could come from.

Calls to Johnson for comment were not returned at the time of publication.