REXBURG − At the city council work meeting Tuesday evening, the council agreed to fund and begin work on a quad complex for baseball and softball.
The city had set aside $1.6 million over time to go towards the project, but the cost will be about $2.6 million. The city has agreed that they will pay in total $2.1 million and will need to find the remaining $500,000 through sponsorships and other sources.
Public Works Director Keith Davidson said the initial estimate for the quad complex was $3.2 million. After finding ways to reduce the cost engineers brought the estimate down to $2.6 million. During the City Council work meeting the council approved to pay $2.1 million and try to fundraise the approximate $500,000 that is still needed through sponsorships and other means.
Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill said the city had set aside $1.6 million initially to go towards the project, unaware of what the actual cost would be. Some argued during the meeting that the $1.6 million was a budget and that the city should stick to it and not pull funds away from other projects.
“When I set aside money for something that is the budget,” Councilwoman Tisha Flora said.
Funds for this project will come from the general fund and the parks impact fund. Flora said the $300,000 from the parks impact fund would take away funding for other parks and trails projects.
Several members of the baseball and softball community attended the meeting and made it clear that they were tired of waiting for this ballpark to be built. Josh Garner, a member of the family who first donated the land to the local school district (who agreed to donate on the condition that a park be made) felt that their family, the community and their children had waited long enough.
Merrill said the land was donated to the school district by Ted and Edna Garner sometime after the Teton Dam Flood. Merrill said they dug a hole into the land in question and deposited dead animals and debris from the flood into the pit and covered the whole thing up. The school district has owned it since the late 1970s. They had no use for it and two years ago the district sold the land to the city for a $1.
Councilman Brad Wolfe told the council that he had spoken to a power company and others who would consider sponsorship and donate money and services to help fund the complex.
Wolfe said the city has also spoken to Madison County about helping with funding because many of those who play in the city are county residents.
Madison County Commissioner Jon Weber on Wednesday told the Standard Journal that the commission would consider helping the city with this project. He said when individuals move to an area they look at all aspects of what makes a community a great place to work and play. Weber said when the county and city attract people they attract business.
“They’re looking at our education, healthcare facilities, infrastructure and recreational opportunities...We have less ball diamonds today than we did 35 to 40 years ago. There’s gotta be balance across the board. We can’t just all be stuck with great roads but no recreational opportunities. How does that serve our community or our youth?”
The next county commission meeting will be on Feb. 24 in the commissioner’s room at the Madison County Courthouse. Commissioner Todd Smith said they may discus funding the quad at that time.