Arbuckle Little League is hosting a public outreach meeting at 7 PM on June 13, at the Catholic Church Hall, geared at engaging the community and enlisting volunteers to help develop the project. According to Arbuckle Little League President Jason Gibbons, organizers are searching for a project manager to help determine phases and facilitate proposals from contractors, county permits, and Quality Assurance/Quality Control construction; a group of creative thinkers to help with fundraising efforts; and donations in the form of money, expertise, equipment and time.
Gibbons said in an email that the Arbuckle community has been looking for a space to develop a second Little League softball/baseball field for well over a decade, in order to support the growing number of teams and enable Arbuckle to host tournaments. Annual fundraising efforts, such as Casino Night and Hit-A-Thon, were organized to help Arbuckle Little League achieve that goal. Over the years, prior Arbuckle Little League Committee members looked at a number of potential sites for the new field, but they were either too small, too far away, or too expensive, Gibbons said. That changed in October 2017, when the current committee noticed that there was a vacant lot just to the north of the existing ball field that was up for sale, located at 145 Holiday Court.
“(The committee) over the course of the next four months proceeded to work with the land owners, the county (including Kim Vann), Arbuckle Revitalization Committee, Arbuckle Parks and Recreation District, K-COE Isom and Clark & Nelson to complete the transaction,” Gibbons said. “In the end, ALL helped purchase 1.07 acres of land in conjunction with ARC (for $93,000), and then transferred the property to APRD.”
The Arbuckle Parks and Recreation District, on behalf of Arbuckle Little League, was granted a Minor Use Permit for the property from the county on Jan. 11, which is good for two years. The facility will be a day-use ball field for t-ball/coach pitch games, as well as a practice field for Minor and Major teams. The facility will also include a parking lot, bathrooms and a storage building, and security fencing, walkways, and landscaping.
Mary Grimmer, executive director for the Arbuckle Parks and Recreations District, said that the district was totally in support of the plans for the new facility.
“We like that it’s going to expand the little league facility. I like, personally, that it is part of the existing park, because then that way it’s easier to maintain,” Grimmer said. “It just extends the Little League. I don’t think they could have found a better piece of property to purchase.”
She added that the new facility was sorely needed.
“It’s been about three to four years where we haven’t had the space for teams to practice and have games. Every single night, there are two games (at the existing field),” Grimmer said. “If you get just t-ball and coach pitch on that new field, it really opens up the other field for other divisions… It’s going to better everything: The park, more parking for events – for all of the other events that happen at that park, it’s going to benifit everything, not just little league.”
Grimmer also said she hoped the Arbuckle community would step up and volunteer to help out the Arbuckle Little League Committee.
“They really do need help. They need people on the ground. They really do. This is a new group, and this is a big project. They’ve bitten off a lot, and I think they have the ability to do it. And I think the community will step up to the plate and support them.”