New Prague ballpark set for $960,000 improvement plan

Posted on March 3, 2015 by CJ Siewert 

Engineer’s design (photo)

For those who attended last year’s state tournament games at Jordan’s Mini Met, you’re probably familiar with the $90,000 worth of upgrades the city of Jordan and various baseball committees put into the ballpark – and how well it turned out.

Well, imagine more than 10 times that amount going into ballpark renovations.

That’s exactly what’s taking place in the city of New Prague. Last night the New Prague City Council agreed in principle to the funding of a three-year improvement plan, which totals nearly $960,000.

• $500,000 (52%) from the city

• $133,500 (14%) from private baseball groups

• $105,000 (11%) from School District 721 (not yet approved)

• $100,000 (10%) from city/private in-kind donations

• $55,000 (6%) from New Prague Utilities Commission

• $64,000 (7%) not yet determined

The private baseball groups will pay back their 14 percent share over seven years at 0 percent interest to the city, which is paying the cost up front.

“The $957,500 total sounds intimidating, and truthfully, it is,” said Mike Sticha, a member of the baseball committee and president of the Dakota Rice Scott League.

“However, the facility is ripe for improvement, which has received very little attention over the past twenty-plus years.”

The three-year project begins this August with phase one; phase two is next year and the project will be complete in 2017 after phase three, just in time for New Prague to co-host the 2018 state tournament with Shakopee. 

Phase one improvement projects include the concessions, restrooms, plaza, scoreboard, grandstand enclosure and batting cages – totaling $342,500. Phase two includes lighting and miscellaneous site improvements – totaling $125,000. And phase three includes infield/outfield regrading, backstop/kneewall, fencing, dugouts, irrigation system and a pressbox – totaling $490,000.

The New Prague Baseball Committee has been meeting since last fall and working out all the fine details that went into such a comprehensive improvement plan. The group is comprised of members from all baseball groups in the city, including the Orioles town team, high school and youth baseball association. Others closely involved include the city administrator, public works director, a designated city council member and community members who have been present at every meeting.

The proposed renovation project was formally designed by the engineering firm I&S Group. Brian Gjerde, a New Prague resident, represented I&S and played a key role in making the proposal work.

“[Brian] has a baseball interest and donated his time to help in the planning and improvement process,” said Sticha. “This professional component was instrumental to the group’s process of identifying improvement ideas and costs.”

Last night’s city council approval is the first step in a long road to completion, but Sticha is grateful for everyone involved to get the ball rolling.

“It’s important to thank our city officials and council, as they have been great to work with,” he said. “They are open and honest, and willing to work with the committee to ensure a great baseball facility exists in the City of New Prague!”

Check out additional content below: