HJ - Softball Field Improvements

Clarinda Cardinal softball player Kennedy Reed tags the baseunner during a game at the field at City Park. Clarinda High School Activities Director Josh Porter wants to resurface the field and make other improvements. (photo by Joe Moore)

Teamwork between the city of Clarinda, the Clarinda Booster Club and a private donor has resulted in a home run for the future of the city softball field.

After discussion with Clarinda High School Activities director Josh Porter Wednesday, Sept. 25, the Clarinda City Council approved plans to renovate the softball field.

Part of the baseball and softball complex at Clarinda City Park, the field is used by the Clarinda Cardinals high school softball team as well as youth baseball and softball teams. The planned renovations to the field will include the installation of a new infield playing surface, a new warning track, a wind screen for the outfield fence and a new water line for improved maintenance of the field.

“There are a lot of games on there. A lot of things take place on that field, especially from March, as soon as the snow goes away, all the way until now. We still have kids out there right now doing things on the softball field,” Porter said.

Porter originally met with the council Aug. 22 to outline his plans for the renovation project. At that time, the city council authorized Porter to gather formal bids for the proposed improvements.

Porter presented those bids to the council Sept. 25. He also outlined a plan for financing the improvements.

B&D Diamond Pro of Bellevue, Nebraska, submitted a bid of $20,222 to install the new clay infield and warning tracks. A bid of $3,600 was received for the wind screen for the outfield fence, while Crain Construction submitted a bid of $4,000 for the installation of the new water line to maintain the field.

“Our bids came back in a little bit high,” Porter said.

However, Porter said he was still able to draft a plan to finance the improvements he initially proposed.

“I have a good sense of pride in making sure if we do something, we do it right one time. You don’t redo it. You don’t wait six months, add something else and change things constantly. Hopefully, if we do this project, it will be done once, it will look very nice and be something we can be proud of on a whole lot of levels,” Porter said.

Council member Matt Ridge asked how the new playing field would improve drainage on the field. Ridge said he had seen times after a heavy rain where the area behind home plate had appeared to be saturated.

Clarinda head softball coach Seth Allbaugh also attended the meeting. He said it was discovered this season the tile line near home plate was plugged. Once the line was cleared, Allbaugh said the drainage significantly improved.

“We do have a good fall of water. The only concern I have is right outside the home dugout and the third base dugout. What will happen is we’ll be building a base underneath this new surface, so that is actually going to be like a water absorber. Right now, because it’s hard, the water hits it and rolls off just like if it was a roof. The new base will actually absorb some of the water into it, which helps soften the surface a little bit,” Porter said.

Along with a private donation that was received for the field improvements, Porter said he spoke to the Clarinda Booster Club about contributing the project. The Clarinda Booster Club agreed to make a donation of $10,750 to the renovations.

Porter then asked the city to pay the final $4,000 for the installation of the new water line. The current water access is located at the concession stand and a hose has to be run through the fencing to water the field and prepare it for games.

By extending the water line either to the outfield behind second base or near the home dugout, Porter said there would be better access to quickly connect to the water line to prepare or maintain the field.

“What you’re asking us to do here doesn’t really impact the other part of it. If we run the water, it’s going to be an improvement to the field no matter what,” council member Craig Hill said.

After discussing the proposal, the council voted to pay for the water line and authorized Porter to proceed with the other field improvements. Since the dirt is driest in the fall, Porter said work on the project would likely start in early October.

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