Huge snow pile at Cadwell parking lot poses challenges ahead of softball season, city forced to wait for melt

The large snow pile at Cadwell Sports Complex parking lot will have to rely on Mother Nature to melt it after crews were directed to keep equipment off the pavement due to major cracks.

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A mountain of snow sits in the Cadwell Sports Complex parking lot on Monday, March 27, 2023, in Mitchell.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Softball players and spectators will have to get used to a snow-filled parking lot at the Cadwell Sports Complex until Mother Nature melts the massive pile of snow.

According to the city’s Sports Complex Supervisor Jeremy Nielsen, who oversees Cadwell softball and baseball facilities, crews used equipment to break up patches of the large snow pile in the parking lot in an attempt to help speed up the melting process. But Nielsen said the parking lot showed “major cracking” and potholes after equipment was used to split through the snow.

“There was so much water from the snow that it began tearing up the black top,” Nielsen said.

After noticing the pavement issues, city officials with the street and sanitation division directed crews to keep all large snow removal equipment off the parking lot, including payloaders used to move snow.

For the immediate future, Nielsen said spectators and teams using the softball complex will have to use the gated entrance along West 13th Avenue due to the snow pile blocking access to the main gate in the parking lot, which is situated in between the pair of softball fields.


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Snow covers the ball fields at the Cadwell Sports Complex on Monday, March 27, 2023, in Mitchell.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

The Mitchell High School girls softball team and Dakota Wesleyan University women’s softball team both have kicked off their seasons. And both play home games at the Cadwell softball complex. Nielsen said the snow covered parking lot will be an inconvenience, but he’s hopeful the warm spring weather ahead will speed up the melting.

“We’re hoping the snow will be melted, or mostly melted, by early May when men’s and women’s softball leagues begin,” Nielsen said of the leagues that bring a lot of players and spectators to the complex.

The city doesn’t typically utilize the Cadwell parking lot as an area to dump snow removed from streets. However, the heavy amount of snow that dumped on Mitchell throughout the winter prompted city crews to use additional snow dump sites to clear streets more quickly.

A total of 58.7 inches of snow fell on Mitchell this winter, according to the National Weather Service, well surpassing the yearly average that hovers around 34 inches.

Typically, the city hauls all of its snow from streets to the large patch of land along the corner of First Avenue and Foster Street, where mountains of snow are still piled up after the series of heavy snow events this winter.

With temperatures forecasted to warm up to 60 degrees and crack the 70s by the upcoming week, the size of the snow pile on the Cadwell parking lot could see a sizable reduction over the next few weeks.

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Spring will be here soon. But right now, programs are barely finding opportunities to practice outdoors, let alone host events.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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