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Mitchell Baseball looks to build indoor hitting facility near Cadwell

Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden is hoping for a new year-round practice facility for area ballplayers, but he needs a helping hand from the city of Mitchell.

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Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden is hoping for a new year-round practice facility for area ballplayers, but he needs a helping hand from the city of Mitchell.

Norden returned to the Mitchell Park and Recreation Board on Thursday to provide the city with an update on the indoor hitting facility the Mitchell Baseball Association is looking to bring to town. Norden said the group has made progress toward making the proposed facility a reality, but he had one question for the volunteer board. Where can the association put the building?

"That's the number one thing that we would like to get out of today is can we purchase the land or is it something we can't purchase?" Norden asked.

Norden said the association has its sights on the city-owned gravel lot adjacent to the Cadwell Sports Complex. He said the proximity to Cadwell and plentiful parking would make for the ideal location for the proposed facility.

No action was taken by the board Thursday during its meeting at the Mitchell Recreation Center, but board member Melanie Mullenmeister said the city attorney should be asked whether the association can purchase the land that once served as the city's soccer complex.

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If the land could be purchased at a low cost, Norden said the facility would be a maximum of 80 feet by 120 feet and would be supported through a series of recent fundraising efforts.

But the board's primary concern was the impact a hitting facility would have on the future expansion of the Cadwell Sports Complex.

"What are our long-term plans for that park?" Mullenmeister asked. "I feel like we don't necessarily know whether we can move forward with some sort of concrete answer for you guys until as a board we discuss and talk about if that is space we're willing to give up or not."

And other board members agreed.

Board member Brian Johnson said the popularity of baseball among the area youth could warrant the expansion of the complex to the gravel lot.

"'We're running short of baseball diamonds for the kids, so those are things we're going to have to think about as well," Johnson said.

To wrap up the discussion, City Councilman Marty Barington praised the association's efforts to consider making use out of an otherwise vacant lot.

"It's pretty desolate all the time and it would be great to put a nice piece to the puzzle there," said Barington, the City Council's representative on the board.

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The board also heard an update from Park Supervisor Steve Roth on the recently constructed softball field at Northridge Park. Roth said the field will likely be completed next week after being moved from Hitchcock Park to make way for added tennis courts. Roth said work on the new tennis courts is expected to begin within the coming weeks.

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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