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Park projects aplenty for Mitchell in 2016

The Mitchell Parks and Recreation Department has had no trouble staying busy this year. One notable project in the works is the new baseball diamond at Northridge Park, located on East 11th Avenue near North Capital Street. But work on the ballfi...

A new dock has been installed near the Sportsman's Club off Indian Village Road on the shoreline of Lake Mitchell. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)
A new dock has been installed near the Sportsman's Club off Indian Village Road on the shoreline of Lake Mitchell. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)

The Mitchell Parks and Recreation Department has had no trouble staying busy this year.

One notable project in the works is the new baseball diamond at Northridge Park, located on East 11th Avenue near North Capital Street. But work on the ballfield - which will ultimately replace the east field at Hitchcock Park - has faced minor delays due to a combination of wet spring weather, regular park maintenance and other projects throughout town.

After a bout with spring rains, Park Supervisor Steve Roth is optimistic the installation of the new ballfield will be completed this year despite having only finished initial dirt work.

"I think it'll be this year, there shouldn't be a problem with that," Roth said about the field being built entirely by the park department. "We just running a little behind this spring because of all the wet weather we've been having and other projects."

The new baseball field will replace an existing field at Hitchcock Park, which will be removed to add four more tennis courts to the eight existing courts at the park.

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The installation of the new field, demolition of the old field and addition of the new courts has been estimated to cost approximately $305,000, but the project will be funded through a joint effort between the city of Mitchell, the Mitchell School District and the Mitchell Tennis Association. The city will contribute $125,000, the school district pledged $75,000 and an MTA representative has indicated it can raise the additional funds needed.

Roth said he couldn't pin down a firm timeline for the new Northridge field, but he said the city has completed preparations to install the infield. Along with weather, general park maintenance like mowing grass and preparing the Mitchell Outdoor Aquatic Center for the summer slowed the progress on the ballfield.

And Roth said preparing the outdoor pool facility at Hitchcock Park took the department a couple weeks to complete.

"You can't just put water in it and away you go, there's always a process," Roth said.

While trying to finish the Northridge ballfield, the park department has simultaneously been working to improve other public lands in the city.

The department recently finished installing a fishing pier next to the Sportsman's Club at Lake Mitchell, and the city will also see about $45,000 of improved playground equipment installed at the four-acre Indianhead Park on South Harmon Drive.

Although Roth doesn't expect the playground equipment to be installed at Indianhead Park until later this fall, he said all of the old equipment will be replaced. The new equipment was added to the 2016 budget at the request of former Parks and Recreation Director Dusty Rodiek, who told the City Council in August that the park was in need of higher quality equipment.

Roth suspects the park will get more use when new equipment is installed.

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"You know, it doesn't get used a lot because that's probably some of the oldest equipment in town," Roth said. "It's just a swingset and slide, it's nothing like any of our other parks."

But Roth said the department has other priorities before it can get around to Indianhead Park.

"We've got other stuff we've got to get done first," he said.

Equipment sits at the construction site for the new baseball field at Northridge Park in Mitchell. The field is being moved from Hitchcock Park, where it will be replaced by tennis courts. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)
Equipment sits at the construction site for the new baseball field at Northridge Park in Mitchell. The field is being moved from Hitchcock Park, where it will be replaced by tennis courts. (Evan Hendershot/Republic)

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