[Vision2020] Deal Reached on Moscow Ballfields

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Apr 5 07:11:57 PDT 2006

>From today's (April 5, 2006) Lewiston Tribune -


Deal reached on Moscow ballfields

of the Tribune

MOSCOW -- Dwight Curtis, Moscow's director of parks and recreation, was
feeling happily compromised Tuesday. Anything, he said, was better than
being a target from all sides. 

"The neighbors were satisfied and the ballfield people were satisfied,"
Curtis said of a committee report for construction of new playing fields on
the south end of town. "From my perspective, I couldn't be more satisfied." 

The report received unanimous approval from members of the Moscow City
Council Monday night and Curtis said the furor of last summer seems to have
simmered into something quite constructive. 

"My opinion is irrelevant with this whole thing," said Curtis, who eight
months ago was criticized for promoting a plan to build seven playing fields
complete with lights, bleachers, a concession stand and a public address
system, on newly-annexed city property adjacent to the University of Idaho

"I came into this the new guy in town," Curtis said, explaining that the
proposal had already been moved along, only to run into pitched opposition
mostly from neighbors living near the site. "I did make some assumptions. I
thought this was already planned." 

But the real planning that led to a compromise, Curtis said, came over the
winter after a 13-member committee pounded out a revised concept. Members
represented the neighborhood, youth sports, Moscow schools, the university,
city parks and recreation, and transportation commissions, the city council
and engineers involved in the project. 

"We never expected this site to satisfy all needs," Curtis said of the
property located south of West Palouse River Drive. And while everyone seems
satisfied with the compromise plan, the demand for more playing fields in
Moscow will continue to grow, Curtis predicted. "It seems like the more we
supply, the more the demand." 

Key to the compromise was the committee's recommendation to build the
playing fields without lighting or an amplified sound system. Lights glaring
into the late night accompanied by a public address system were the two most
criticized elements of the initial plan. 

The lighting and sound system were considered critical if the fields were to
be used by adults, especially for tournaments. "The Fields Planning
Committee does not support scheduled adult league and tournament sports
activities at the park," reads the recommendation summary presented to the
city council. 

"We have the lighted fields at Ghormley Park," Curtis said, "but the adult
(softball) teams are busting at the seams." Asked if lighting might still be
an option at the southern location, Curtis said, "I don't think so, not
unless I've got another job lined up." 

The committee has recommended seven fields, according to the report,
including two Babe Ruth baseball fields, two Cal Ripken baseball fields, two
regulation size soccer fields and one multi-purpose football-lacrosse-soccer

"Financially, this is still going to be a big deal to figure out," Curtis
said, explaining that grant opportunities are "drying up." 

Engineers, landscape architects and designers will look at the committee
recommendations and a cost estimate should become clearer, Curtis said. 

Additional committee recommendations include a park-like design geared to a
variety of youth activities. "This park should be a showcase of community
park development for residents and visitors," the report reads. Construction
of an off-street, multi-use path for non-motorized transportation and
recreation is also recommended. An efficient irrigation system and planting
of low water-use vegetation are also encouraged. 

Formation of a task force to oversee planning and development of the park
has also been recommended by committee members. In addition to Curtis,
committee members included Cory Baune, Gerard Billington, Damon Burton, Jim
Calvert, Jim Fazio, Kevin Gardes, Kathy Kok, Cade Konen, Linda Pall, Rob
Ries, and Ben Twigg.


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho


"Until I started reading blogs, I thought only pilots figured they knew
everything. Now I know better." 

- Dave Glasebrook (April 4, 2006)


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