Now that the Jennie Jaynes Stadium demolition project is complete, the Sedalia Park Board is now setting its sights on the next project — installing infield turf at Liberty Park Stadium.
The board approved the project during its May meeting after receiving requests from the organizations that utilize the field — Smith-Cotton High School, Sedalia Bombers, Post 642 American Legion Travelers and Post 642 Aux. Rick Ball Ford Juniors. The project is estimated at $300,000, with the Park Board contributing about $150,000 and the other entities coming up with funding for the remaining half.
Parks Director Mark Hewett said during Thursday’s park board meeting that the groups had secured their portion of the funding.
“I’ll meet with Jeff Mays next week to look at the specs and we hope to get bids out within the week,” Hewett said. He expects the bids to be ready for the Sept. 3 board meeting.
Originally, the board was looking into donating its share of funding to the Liberty Park Foundation and allowing the baseball organizations to find the best company to complete the project, but Hewett said City Attorney Anne Gardner advised the board to use the proper bidding process through the city.
“If we award it (right away), turf can be installed this fall,” he added. “We will lose a month (having to go out for bids), but that’s still enough time.”
Installing the turf could allow for scheduling more games and even tournaments at the stadium.
The demolition of Jennie Jaynes Stadium was completed a few weeks ago, much sooner than anticipated, and Hewett said the fencing has been put back in place, and a “walk through” gate will be installed where the double gate was previously. The board approved purchasing and installing lights at the remaining track to allow more public use.
“We heard tonight they approved to put some lights up to light the track,” Hewett said. “We’re not going to light it up like the KC Royals stadium, but there will be enough light you can feel safe walking out there in the evening.”
Lights will also be installed on the practice field across the street from the former Jennie Jaynes Stadium, thanks to an agreement with Sacred Heart School. The football team will be allowed to utilize half of the field daily for football practice, and in exchange lighting will be installed at the field. Ethan Henson, of CED Electric in Sedalia and SHS assistant football coach, contacted Hewett about using the practice field in exchange for assisting with lighting installation.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.