Parting thoughts

A couple of years ago, we wrote an editorial about the conditions of the sports facilities inn Abilene and wondered if someone got behind a movement and kept it going would things improve.

The overall thought was geared to the softball diamonds and baseball parks but it didn’t take long until school superintendent Greg Brown and school board president Kyle Becker began discussions about Cowboy Stadium. Those discussions led to action and soon the Cowboys will compete in a completely new remodeled facility with a turf field, new bleachers, new locker rooms and a premiere looking running track.

Back to the original question, if Abilene wants to keep investing in its youth can something be accomplished with Ted Power Field and the sports complex? Maybe its time for the wishing and hoping and talking to halt and get some movers and shakers involved in planning the much needed revitalization.

Lets start with lights. Both fields desperately need new lighting, if nothing else for safety. You try to play outfield in a 9:30 p.m. game and make a catch in the outfield. Someone could get hurt. New regulation size light poles should be installed in both fields – maybe fewer poles but with double banked lights that have been candle lighted in the last 20 years.

Talk recently has thoughts of new fields being built somewhere in Abilene with maybe emphasis on turf fields, at least infields. McPherson spent a lot of money this past year at the sports complex their high school uses and with the new artificial turf infields they were able to weather the rains of spring and host several regional softball and baseball games that had to be moved from their original location. Guess what, they had big crowds of people spending money in McPherson. Benefit to the city.

The Cowgirls played regional softball at Maize South because rain washed out Clearwater, the assigned host. Even with threatening rain, the tournament was played and guess what, more crowds came from out of town.

Can the same thing happen in Abilene?

The folks at the school seem to think that when construction is done at Cowboy Stadium, that maybe Abilene will be able to host regional and state events in both football and track. The facilities will be there and they have the right people leading the organization for those events it can be done. That will bring a large crowd to town for one day. One day a season.

Think of the amount of weekend days there are from the first of May until July 4th. Now if Abilene becomes proactive like Pratt and hosts tournaments every weekend can they build and pay for a new complex in short order? Pratt did and look at the other things that happened to the Pratt economy including three ‘new at the time’ hotels close to the facility and at the crossroads to two highly traveled highways.

We think we can do this Abilene. As many kids that we have on travel teams playing softball and baseball all over the state, why can’t they play at home once in awhile?

Time to step up to the plate. Take a deep breath and lets get this done.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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