Officials update residents on recreational facilities and special eventsBy MEGAN PHILLIPS,
The three new baseball fields, new lighting and other upgrades recently opened at Liberty Park in Madison.
Plus the city may eventually have tennis and basketball courts, if new parks and recreation director Nathan Hanson has his way.
Hanson gave Madison citizens an update on what he has planned for the city’s parks in the coming months and years at a recent meeting of Madison Organization of Neighborhood Associations (MONA) .
At the same meeting, new events coordinator Brittany Mayfield said she wants to start having one event per month at the city of Madison.
Hanson told neighborhood representatives the city was not able to kick off softball season with the new fields as expected cause he wanted to make sure evertying was done just right.
Along with the new baseball fields, the project includes a concession stand and a bathroom facility, shade structures for bleachers, a metal fence surrounding existing soccer fields, and controls for existing field lighting.
The project was awarded to Coleman Hammons Construction for $3.5 million. Funds come from the $12 million TIF (tax increment finance), part of which was issued in 2015 for parks-and-recreation improvement, the rest of which ($7.5 million) will go toward Madison Avenue improvements.
The largest of the three fields will back up to Lowe’s, and will be 300 feet from home plate to the left and right field fences, and 320 feet from home to center field. The two smaller fields will measure 250 feet from home plate to center field.
The new concession stand and bathroom facility will be located between the two new smaller fields.
Eventually, Hanson would also like tennis and basketball courts built, and maybe even a dog park.
“It kind of depends on what we have in terms of city planning. There’s a lot of different things that’s been asked of me in terms of tennis, basketball and dog parks. Those are all viable things to look at in terms of what’s going to be the best for planning long-term.”
Hanson said that if city officials were willing to make the investment, the city has land ready to be developed into those opportunities.
“I would like to have some tennis courts that are on a first-come, first serve basis. That’s one of the key drawing points we have with our residents and our youth clubs that we’re partnered with.”
More specifically, Hanson said his “pipedream” would be to extend Liberty Park to a larger area...“something where we’ve some tennis courts and basketball courts, possible new playgrounds. (We) just have to go hand-in-hand with the city’s development… Really, ultimately, our goal is to improve and take it to the next level, really enhancing what Madison has to offer for our citizens.”
Brittany Mayfield, niece of former Madison events coordinator Jo Luby, said her goal is to make Madison a family destination each month.
“In 2018, we plan on adding a few new things to our core events that we do every year… Our goal is to have something every month, so that the city has something to offer every month whether it be big or small.”
Mayfield said she’s also working her way through the Madison schools to meet coaches, teachers and principals, discussing how schools can get more involved in future events. She’s also been talking with potential sponsors.
“I’m trying to work my way through the schools… to see how they can be involved in our events,” Mayfield said. “With the businesses, we’re working on that as far as sponsorships go, because that’s how our events happen since they’re all free.”
So far, Mayfield said she was able to handle the city’s Fourth of July celebration and the mayoral and aldermen inauguration.
Coming up, the city will host the Scarecrow Festival and the Christmas Parade.
“The Scarecrow Festival’s going to be on October 12, Thursday night, from 6 to 8. The Christmas Parade’s will be on the first Saturday, which is December 2.