Crown Point Mayor Dave Uran speaks about the new softball fields as construction continues at the city's Sportsplex on Friday, March 22, 2013. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 26, 2013 12:04PM
CROWN POINT — The City Council and Mayor Dave Uran are taking the next step in creation of a sports complex between North Street and South Street halfway between Broadway and Indiana Avenue.
According to Uran, visitors will enter the stadium between two buildings with brick façades. One will house a large concession stand and restrooms and the other will be for maintenance. It will resemble the complex’s entrance on North Street on Bulldog Boulevard.
Currently the outfield fences are wide open, with the side fields running along the parking lot. There will be a green screen along the outfield fence for the benefit of the players. Landscaping including trees will be put in along the outside of the foul line fences.
The three ballparks fan out from home plate in a semi-circle around the north side water tower. There will be a 3-foot wall around the tower.
“The middle field will be the championship field,” Uran said. “It will have a 20-foot by 8-foot score board, giving inning-by-inning breakdown. It will be a digital scoreboard so the names of each team will be there also.”
The scorers will be in a brick building and the digital images controlled from there. The two side fields will have smaller digital scoreboards.
Uran said that a national championship would be held in Crown Point this summer. That can have between 90,000 and 120,000 visitors for the Thursday through Sunday games.
During the city’s own league season, there will be no charge for admittance to the stadium. When tournaments come in they take over running the entire stadium. They will be charging admission fees, not the city.
The adult softball fields are currently part of Phase II construction, and it will not be long until the call “Play ball” is heard on these new fields. This phase has three adult softball fields in a proper ballpark.
They should be ready for play this spring, depending on the weather and how the grass grows. The foundations for the park are in and the masonry work will be going up fast. There will be a main entrance to the ballpark.
Matching grant funding of $2 million has been made available to the city by the Dean and Barbara White Foundation. The city’s match will come from the Tax Increment Financing District through the Redevelopment Commission.
In addition to the Crown Point stadium and parking lots, the city is also constructing three soccer practice fields and two ponds offering more storm water storage for the drainage ditch that divides the property. There is an attractive “river walk” style walkway around the ponds.
Right now the connection from the west side of the property to the east side is made from Bulldog Boulevard over to the parking at the Jr. Bulldog stadiums for football and soccer on the east side of the ditch.
When Phase II is finished, the city will wait for the softball season to end on the east side of the property and then those fields and parking will be cared for.
Eventually, according to Uran, the city will have a total four brand new fields on the east side along with the two existing adult softball fields and the three in the stadium for a total of nine playing fields.