Dickinson has long struggled with attractive outdoor sports facilities hosting tournaments, but that may soon change.
At the Jan. 21 city commission meeting, preliminary planning discussions were revealed for a proposed construction of four turf baseball, softball and football complexes that would be shared by student-athletes from Dickinson State University. , Dickinson High School and members of the general public. Guy Fridley, athletic director of Dickinson Public Schools; Pete Stanton, head football coach and athletic director of Dickinson State University; and James Kramer, executive director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, presented preliminary plans for the future project.
“We felt that the collaboration between the two (schools) would be important for us to build something…that we could both be proud of,” Fridley said. “And once we started moving forward with (the idea)…we felt it was important to bring in Parks and Rec and James Kramer.”
Fridley added: “No decision has been made as to what it will look like.”
According to the proposal, the project would include baseball, softball and soccer fields. The hope expressed at the commission meeting was that the fields would help attract an increase in future tournaments 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 primary goal, according to Fridley, was for the fields to be located a short distance from Dickinson Public Schools, DSU, and the West River Community Center for easy transportation and access to the fields. Although unconfirmed, the preliminary locations selected would meet this objective.
The baseball and softball fields would be located side by side at 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 a grass field and a natural field, in front of the Henry Biesiot Activity Center.
“We felt (the) location was very good for something like this for teams,” Fridley said. “I was at the (Little League baseball fields in Mustang) at 11 p.m. because there are three fields (in town).”
Mayor Scott Decker questioned the proposal team about concerns he had with safety and the expected costs. Commissioner Nicole Wolla’s questions focused on the proximity of the fields to the rodeo grounds.
“Have you ever talked to the rodeo club, because you really haven’t touched 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 on Jan. 31 at 2 p.m.
“We’re going to be very, very careful with this area that they just set up for their practice arena,” Stanton said.
The proposal team said the next step would be to ensure these plans would fit into the proposed locations and that a future meeting with the commission would be requested on this once a firmer plan is in place. square.
Although the commission listened carefully to the preliminary plans of the proposal team, no formal proposal was presented to the commission for consideration.