FORT SMITH, Ark. — It's one of the biggest improvement projects at the softball Diamonds at the Ben Geren Park in decades.
The County Quorum Court approved spending a little more than $3 million to make massive improvements to the field that date back 50 years.
The softball diamonds at Ben Geren Park were built in 1972 and are operated by the Sebastian County Girls Softball Association (SCGSA). Aside from regular maintenance, nothing this big has ever happened and it is something Amy Adams with the SCGSA says is very much needed.
"We’re the largest softball organization in the area and yet the most outdated. The feedback I get from teams in northwest Arkansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma where softball is ever bigger than here in fort smith is that when you update your facilities we’ll come when you get better fields you get better facilities we’ll come," Adams said.
Adams says the $3 million will go toward major upgrades.
"It's to get us new bathroom facilities that are ADH compliant it’s also to get use a new concession as well as rebuild the fields up and put in a better drainage system," Adams said.
Adams says those drainage improvements alone are big.
"Just in the last two weeks, we’ve received four inches of rain if that were to have happened on a tournament day it would have canceled the whole thing," Adams said.
Right now, the association hosts about eight tournaments every spring. Adams says that could more than double with these improvements.
"We just held our state tournament which had 26 teams state tournament next year could be upwards of 40 or more teams which would have a great economic impact on our community bringing the out-of-town teams that are spending the night that are eating at our restaurants," Adams said.
Adams says they are hoping to get everything done by next spring but in the meantime summer camps on July 7 and July 23 are still on schedule.
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