Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is Bridgeforth Field finally getting the proposed $4.2million dollar makeover?

Baseball enthusiasts should easily remember the architectural drawing that was made public during the Winchester Royals games back in late summer of 2008.  Bridgeforth Field Field serves as a home field for Shenandoah University, Handley High School, Winchester Royals and Winchester Baseball.

Unfortunately the picture(s) taken today, October 6th is not (IMHO) part of the $4.2million dollar renovation project.  This repair work can be easily viewed as a band-aid fix to a much deteriorated press-box at Bridgeforth field in Jim Barnett Park.  The $4.2 million renovation project includes a NEW press-box, new concession stand, new restrooms, new team rooms, new dugouts along with an A-Turf infield.

WPRD associates (Kevin Sine and John Haines) along with a hired outside contractor are removing the old siding on the press-box and will be installing new vinyl siding and new windows.  Also, involved in this project will be Mr. Robertson's tech-ed class from Handley High School.  The students from Handley will be doing work within the press-box that should include a new press row counter-top and maybe some pre-owned cabinets and new wall paneling.

It should not be a surprise to the local fans that the remodeling work on the press-box at Bridgeforth field will be a reason to justify [if approved] WPRD and City Council spending less than $500k on the renovations needed at Rotary Field that will enable Winchester Baseball to host the 2011 10-yr Cal-Ripken World Series.

Nobody is against Winchester Baseball hosting such an event BUT many local residents are against taxpayers money being spent for this event since Bridgeforth Field (constructed 1978) has many known problems, including an infield that is about as safe as playing Russian roulette with the baseballs hit at the infielders.

Also, this financial economic impact described in the article below on the local community of $1.2 - $2 million is very misleading [its not actual dollars being spent] but is determined on a economic multiplier formula.

To learn more about Economic multipliers and how they should be viewed with much skepticism, click on the following:

An in-depth research indicates a more realistic dollar range of $337k-$472k [actual dollars] that potentially could be spent in the City of Winchester for hosting such an event.  If anyone who would like to see that spreadsheet used to arrive at these figures, please send request to The1nOnlyPIBB(at)gmail(dot)com

To close, since the Bridgeforth Renovation committee meetings are few and very far between, makes many wonder, will the $4.2 million dollar makeover at Bridgeforth Field ever come to fruition? 

Winchester has chance to host Babe Ruth W.S.

By Ben Brooks
The Winchester Star
February 19, 2009

WINCHESTER — Winchester Baseball President Bob Brown knows that area youth players can compete on the national level. As a coach, he’s seen it before. Now, he hopes the rest of the Winchester community will get a first-hand look as well.

They could get that opportunity if nearly $500,000 worth of improvements can be made to Jim Barnett Park’s Rotary Field in time for the 2011 Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth 10-year-old World Series.

“It would be a real plus for Winchester Baseball and the community to host this and for our children to be able to play on a national stage,” Brown said Wednesday. “And they would be able to compete. We’ve played in two World Series over the years and numerous regional tournaments.”

Brown, along with other members of Winchester Baseball, petitioned the national Babe Ruth Baseball organization several years ago about bringing the showcase event to this area. Winchester has hosted several state and regional tournaments in previous years. Last fall Brown and several Winchester Baseball representatives were invited to a training session in Van Buren, Ark., to learn more about how to prepare for such an event.

“They said it’s ours if we can make the commitment and get some things done,” Brown said.

The bulk of the money used for improvements to Rotary Field would go toward building a larger press box. Upgrades would also be needed in lighting, dugouts, and seating.

Winchester Parks and Recreation Director Brad Veach, who Tuesday night presented City Council with the idea of Winchester hosting the 2011 tournament and the price tag for necessary field improvements, said the next step is to gauge how much support there is for such a project within the community.

The councilors said they would be more inclined to support hosting the tournament if the expenses were shared regionally and through sponsorships with local businesses.

“Now’s the hard part,” Veach said. “During these tough economic times there’s not a whole lot of money to give away. I’m going to do what they asked and try to get that community support.

“Winchester Baseball is a major fundraiser. They’ve made great improvements on the fields over the years. I wouldn’t put anything past them. If they’re passionate about something they’ll do whatever they can.”

Both Brown and Veach stressed that a tournament like a Babe Ruth World Series would likely bring in more money to the local economy than it would cost.

Citing an economic analysis that Babe Ruth Baseball does for host cities, Veach said that areas normally generate between $1.2 and $2 million over the 10-day tournament. That money comes from hotels (an estimate of 700 rooms needed) meals at local restaurants, gas and other expenditures.

Bridgeforth Field entire complex pics, taken back in late June 2008:

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