The City of La Crosse will be constructing a third ball field on Isle La Plume in 2018.
The new field will be built just north of Caroll Ball Park on Marco Road. Currently, the land is a lot used by Badger Corrugating and City Brewery to park semi trailers. The two companies' lease with the city expired on January 31st and on Monday's Board of Public Works meeting, the city voted not to renew that lease.
Plans to create a “cluster” of ball fields have been in the works since 2012. Demand for the adult softball league is growing according to the parks and rec department. Each season more than 200 teams play over 2000 games. Recreation Specialist Jared Flick says organizations like the Amateur Softball Association and the North American Fastpitch Association are interested in bringing larger tournaments to Carroll Park, but they need the field cluster to do so.
“To be competitive in these bids, you have to have clusters,” Flick said. “La Crosse is very desirable, we've toured many different organizations that wanted to come into the area.”
Tournaments like that would bring between 100-150 teams to the area. Carroll Park fields are also currently used by high schools and the Boys and Girls Club.
“There still many users in the city that have been playing on fields that have been stacking up over time,” Flick said.
The City's budget for 2018 approved $350,000 for the new field, which may also include building lights for the south field constructed in 2017. Flick said the proximity to downtown and the river and away from residential areas make it a very desirable area for the project.
The next phase is to have the land designated as a park and begin the design process. Flick said the construction should begin in early summer and be completed by the end of the year.