PINEDALE – Construction at the new Dudley Key Ball Fields Sports Complex is on track for completion by July 1, Abram Pearce, Pinedale’s director of public works, told the town council on April 26.
The new ball fields, located on land adjacent to School District No. 1’s bus barn, will replace the old facilities located next to the Pinedale Clinic. The ball field relocation is the result of an agreement between the Town of Pinedale, the Sublette County Board of Commissioners and the Sublette County Rural Health Care District (SCRHCD) hashed out in public meetings last spring.
The entities each pledged support to allow the SCRHCD to purchase part of the old ball field property from the Town of Pinedale to provide space for the proposed critical access hospital and assisted skilled-nursing facility.
The town is leasing the property for the new ball fields from School District No. 1 for a nominal price.
Pearce took the Roundup on a tour of the construction zone on April 28 and said that the contractor managing the project, Teletractors, had done a great job sticking to the timetable.
Crews had completed the framework and roofing on both the new concession building and the storage and maintenance facility. On Wednesday, workers were busy installing the finishing touches to the irrigation system running from an aboveground pump in the maintenance shed to distribute water across the fields. Pearce said that the aboveground pump, located in a winterized room, was far easier to maintain than a belowground pump.
Construction on concrete sidewalks along the roadways and the dirt work for the Wilson Street extension were underway. Small, crushed gravel pathways snaked through the site, waiting for heavy equipment to finish the grading and rolling process.
Fences and dugout shelters ringed the fields and several new lighting fixtures were up. The entrance gates honoring Dudley Key from the old ball fields waited to be installed.
Pearce explained that remaining tasks primarily include finishing the irrigation system to prepare the fields for sod and the common areas for seeded grass, laying concrete and asphalt and putting the finishing touches on the buildings.
During the town council meeting on Monday, councilmembers unanimously approved a process to allow local businesses to sponsor facilities and equipment at the Dudley Key Fields Sports Complex.
Mayor Matt Murdock told the council that local businesses looked forward to the potential advertising opportunities. The funds from businesses would provide revenue for the town to fund dugouts, scoreboards and picnic tables.
The council’s motion gave town attorney Ed Wood guidance to change language in the sponsorship contracts to streamline the application process and outline each party’s responsibilities for maintaining the advertising.
The council then passed a motion to purchase dugout benches, scoreboards and trash receptacles for the new ball fields not to exceed $20,000.
At its April 21 board meeting, the SCRHCD voted to allow the adult softball league and Pinedale Little League use of the old ball fields until the town’s new facilities are completed. Board chairman Mike Pompy told the Roundup that SCRHCD staff were finalizing paperwork to purchase liability insurance to allow the summer sports to go ahead.
Murdock confirmed to the Roundup that the town will continue to act in a caretaking role to provide basic maintenance on the ball fields now owned by the SCRHCD, including mowing and watering, until the transition to the new facilities after July 1.
For more town council news, please see the next edition of the Roundup.