T-ball, Cal Ripken League and Junior Babe Ruth baseball fields at Townsend Park are being razed so that the Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department can prepare to let bids on renovation of the three fields and related facilities.
About 20 Arkansas Department of Correction inmates were working at the site Thursday. J.T. Golden of the city’s street department is slated to employ a track hoe Monday to level a concession stand in the park.
The city council last month appropriated $450,000 for preliminary planning work at the park, which is to be renovated with funds collected from the five-eighths cent Penny for Progress tax approved by voters in 2011 and earmarked for capital improvements..
Parks and Recreation Director Angela Parker said Thursday that she would be meeting with Entergy officials Friday to determine if they are willing to down electrical poles and field lights at the fields, and if so, when. If Entergy doesn’t wish to topple the poles, the city probably will, Parker said.
Parker said she’s looking at putting some new bleachers into the park, but those at the T-ball field are only about three years old and will likely remain.
“I’m not certain just when bids will be able to be let,” she said. “I think everything will be on schedule once we get ready to let bids, but it may be the summer of 2015 before any games are played on the fields. It depends on how the grass grows.
“It takes so much time to get to the point where we want to be, but we’ll get there,” she added.
Alderman George Stepps has recently promoted his idea that the city’s proposed multipurpose center would be best located in Townsend Park. The center is currently planned for East 10th Avenue adjacent to the civic center.
Stepps has noted that the park is near University Park and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, which are undergoing extensive developments. He believes placing the center there would give it “more bang for your buck” and “help jump-start your city.”