Cadwell Sports Complex still under heavy maintenance
The Cadwell Sports Complex fields sit unused, but their maintenance and upkeep are still at a premium.
The city’s baseball, softball and soccer fields are currently empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is not promoting any youth or adult activities and they are suspended until the closures are lifted, said Mitchell Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell.
“It will be up to the City Council and the mayor what they want to do moving forward,” Powell said. “But for now, we haven’t put up bases or anything. We are just kind of holding off on that and the same with the soccer fields. We haven’t put up the nets because we are not promoting organized activities. If people want to go out with their family and play a little bit, they can do that.”
City officials are promoting physical activity, as long as people are following social distancing guidelines.
“We don’t mind if people are out there using them,” Powell said. “We encourage them to be outside and be active during this time and try to be healthy, stay safe and keep their distance as best we can while they are out there.”
If and when the fields are used for organized activities, Powell said the number of spectators will be determined by social distancing guidelines, with the City Council and Mayor Bob Everson also assisting in the decision.
The city has not made any permanent decisions on spring and summer organized activities. It’s in a holding pattern at the moment.
“We are just taking it week-by-week right now,” Powell said. “I know a lot of the associations have canceled their tournaments, of course, through much of May right now. I think everyone is just waiting on a week-to-week basis to see where things go.”
In the interim, the city’s maintenance crew is still prepping the fields like normal. The weather has gotten nicer in recent weeks, leading to more upkeep of the fields.
“It’s just about to pick up now,” Cadwell Sports Complex Supervisor Jeremy Nielsen said. “We just started mowing the fields here and at that soccer complex this week and it looks like they definitely needed to be mowed. We are going to have to keep up with that.”
Nielsen has only been in his current position for a month, but spent the previous 13 years as the Cadwell Sports Complex crew leader. He’s never experienced closures like this and no activities also throw another wrench in things.
He’s also short-staffed, as there’s currently a part-time hiring freeze by the city. Nielsen said there are three full-time staff members helping with the maintenance, while he also splits his time concentrating on office work.
Nielsen and the staff are also still concentrating on maintaining the fields, including mowing, spraying, fertilizing and watering.
“We still have to do all that,” Nielsen said. “If you don’t do any of that, it will affect later this year, next year and maybe even two years down the road. It’s not like we cannot fertilize and not spray for fungus and weeds and irrigate.”
The staff is also still maintaining Cadwell Park, the city’s home field for high school and American Legion baseball teams and the host site of the South Dakota state amateur baseball tournament. The staff uses a special mower for the different designs on the field, which takes three times a week and at least a couple hours at a time.
But that is also delayed at the current time.
“We are kind of waiting just like everybody else,” Nielsen said. “But looking forward to this getting over and kind of getting back to normal life.”