SHERIDAN — Ground has been broken on the Doubleday Sports Complex.
Although the Doubleday committee has been hard at work for months on end, the breaking of ground was a big milestone for the various entities involved in the project. The Doubleday committee features members from such groups as the Sheridan Recreation District, Sheridan Youth Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball, Sheridan Storm Soccer, Sheridan College and the Sheridan Softball Association.
Sheridan Recreation District board President Don Julian represents the SRD on the Doubleday committee, and he updated the SRD board on the groundbreaking at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Topsoil is being moved and dirt is being borrowed from the North Main Interchange construction, and Julian expects the area for the complex to be flat within the coming months.
The next step, Julian said, will include designing the complex, and the committee seeks input from the community on the final plans.
The committee will host three stakeholder meetings next week. The meetings will allow the public to view initial design plans created by the committee and the firm Morrison Maierle and give input on what they’d like to see or not see within the scope of the project.
There will be three meetings next week at 61 S. Gould St., each focusing on a specific user group. Tuesday’s meeting will focus on the soccer aspect of the complex; Wednesday’s meeting will emphasize baseball and softball; and Thursday’s meeting will be more of a general-use plan.
All three meetings start at 6 p.m.
“We have a good initial plan,” Julian said, adding that the board is seeking input and ideas as the designs begin to take shape.
After next week’s meetings, Julian said the group will be closer to drafting a final design for the complex and will look toward stage two of the process. Stage two puts an emphasis on publicity and fundraising for the project.
“As we get closer to a final design, the publicity and fundraising will kick into higher gear,” Julian said.
Julian noted that despite the harsh winter and heavy snowfall over the last several months, the groundbreaking was only delayed a couple weeks and didn’t throw the project off schedule. The timetable for stage two, he said, would be much more flexible and dependent on the fundraising process.
The preparation of the land at the Doubleday Sports Complex is symbolic for the rest of the SRD’s work schedule at the moment.
SRD Executive Director Richard Wright discussed the scheduling for spring and summer sports at Wednesday’s board meeting, noting that his staff has been hard at work scheduling programs and readying fields for use.
Among those fields is the new patch of land on West Fifth Street, which Wright expects to be ready for use Aug. 1.
He said the fields are in better shape than he expected after the winter and should have grass within the next three or four weeks.
The new West Fifth Street fields and the eventual Doubleday Sports Complex will provide much-needed recreation space for the SRD. Wright informed the board that the recreation district has seen nearly 18,000 users in Sheridan County School District 2 facilities this year, something the board is very grateful to provide but understands the demands of that use.
The SRD will also maintain the baseball field behind the Thorne-Rider Park offices in a new agreement with Babe Ruth Baseball. That maintenance will begin in mid-April.
In other news:
The SRD is hiring junior golf instructors, pool workers and lifeguards for summer. Interested individuals should contact the Recreation District for information and applications.
Program directors Seth Ulvestad and Colton Thompson are wrapping up winter programs and prepping for baseball and softball, along with other summer programs. More information can be found in the upcoming Summer Program Guide, set for release next month.
The SRD expects a budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year and will present the board with a preliminary budget on May 15. The SRD and its board have been continuously discussing opportunities to supplement any budget cuts or changes.