Dickinson has long struggled with attractive outdoor sporting facilities that bring in the tournaments, but that could soon change.
At the city commission meeting on Jan. 21, early planning discussions were revealed for a project to build four turfed baseball, softball and soccer complexes that would be shared by student athletes from Dickinson State University, Dickinson High School and members of the general public. Guy Fridley, Dickinson Public Schools athletic director; Pete Stanton, Dickinson State University football head coach and athletic director; and James Kramer, executive director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, presented the preliminary plans for the future project.
“We felt the collaboration between the two (schools) would be important for us to build something ... that both of us could be proud of,” Fridley said. “And once we got moving along with (the idea) … we felt it was important that we bring in Parks and Rec and James Kramer.”
Fridley added, “No decisions have been made with what it’s going to look like.”
According to the proposal, the project would consist particularly of baseball, softball and soccer fields. The hope expressed at the commission meeting was that the fields would help attract an increase in tournaments coming to Dickinson — and by proxy, revenue for the city.
The proposal for the fields remains in the very early stages of planning, with no project start date or costs presented.
The main goal, according to Fridley, was to have the fields located within a short distance from Dickinson Public Schools, DSU and the West River Community Center for easier transportation and access to the fields. Although not confirmed, the preliminary locations selected would meet that goal.
The baseball and softball fields would be located side by side on the intersection of State Avenue and Fairway Street, near the university's new outdoor practice rodeo facility. The idea presented for the soccer fields would be to have one turfed field and one natural field, across the street from the Henry Biesiot Activities Center.
“We felt (the) location was very good for something like this for teams,” Fridley said. “I’ve been at (Mustang little league baseball fields) at 11 o’clock at night, because there’s three fields (in town.)”
Mayor Scott Decker questioned the proposal team on concerns he had with safety and on projected costs. Commissioner Nicole Wolla's questions focused on the proximity the fields would be to the rodeo grounds.
“Have you talked with the rodeo club yet, because you really didn’t touch on that?” Wolla asked.
Stanton responded that initial discussions with the rodeo club had taken place and that additional meetings would be held with the club at the next DSU open forum, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m.
“We’re going to be very, very careful with that area that they just put in there for their practice arena,” Stanton said.
The proposal team said their next step would be to ensure that such plans would fit in the proposed locations and that a future meeting with the commission would be sought on the matter once a firmer plan was in place.
While the commission listened intently to the proposal team’s early-stage plans, no official proposal was made before the commission for review.