A new concession stand and restroom facility will be built at Thomas Cloud Park in Huber Heights to replace one that burned down in 2011, but the proposed location is raising questions among community groups that use the park.
City Council recently approved the construction of a 1,520-square-foot building that initially has been estimated to cost between $225,000 and $250,000.
Some of the funds are being donated by the Brick City Sports Club, whose goal is to create a “state-of-the-art” baseball/softball complex, according to club president Chuck Doran.
However, the location of the new facility has been met by opposition from the Warrior Soccer Club. There are 10 baseball/softball fields and 19 soccer fields at the park.
“We want to enhance the baseball experience,” Doran said. “We maintain 28 fields within the city, and Cloud Park is the best opportunity to make improvements because of how it’s laid out and the infrastructure work that’s already done.”
Huber Heights and Brick City officials said that the donation is playing a factor as to where the building will be located, and the donation also will pay for an emergency access road to the building.
The concession stand/restrooms will be built southwest of its previous location. It will be in the center of five baseball diamonds and five soccer fields, and can be used by any organization, not just baseball. The five soccer fields are in the outfields of the five baseball diamonds.
The Warrior Soccer Club runs the annual Warrior Soccer Classic, which uses Thomas Cloud Park as one of five sites for the tournament. Club president Carol Maas suggested that a second new facility at the original site would be “more user friendly to the whole community.”
“If that’s what they need for their program, that’s fine. That’s a separate issue,” Maas said. “I do think the citizens need one centrally located, right off the parking lot and handicap accessible quite easily. Hopefully (this new facility) will be a minimum impact for what we do, but that remains to be seen, of course.”
The last concession building burned down in the fall of 2011 the result of arson. The city’s police and fire departments are still investigating it, assistant city manager Scott Falkowski said.
The city collected $170,000 in insurance money and Brick City has agreed to pay anything above that amount, Falkowski said. Construction is expected to take three months and the building should be completed by the end of the summer.
“This is a way to do this without negatively affecting any user group,” Falkowski said. “No fields were lost by anybody. It’s easily accessible for any user of the park, and that was the goal. Every user group is going to have their own vision, and we try to accommodate them as much as possible.”
Maas said the soccer club did not consider donating to the new building because it has spent its own money upgrading the park throughout the years.
“We’ve poured in half a million dollars there and we bring more money into the city economically,” she said. “We take a first-hand interest in that property. It’s a beautiful park.”
Last year’s Warrior Soccer Classic drew about 22,000 people and had an $8 million economic impact on the area, according to Bev Rose, the director of marketing and communications for the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Rose anticipates those figures to hold steady or increase slightly for this year’s tournament during Memorial Day weekend.
Doran said long-term baseball/softball goals include replacing all the backstops and installing dugouts, fences, lights and scoreboards. Maas said those future projects “could have a possibility of encroaching on soccer fields.”
“Those future steps will need to be evaluated,” she said. “We need to work together so there aren’t any events negatively impacted by this.”
Watching the community
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