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MailTribune.com
  • Medford council OKs three new ballfields at U.S. Cellular park

    The addition will elimininate waiting lists for use of ballfields during sporting events
  • More room for sports teams and more parking will greet visitors to U.S. Cellular Community Park following a Medford City Council decision Thursday to award a contract to Batzer Construction to build three new ballfields.
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  • More room for sports teams and more parking will greet visitors to U.S. Cellular Community Park following a Medford City Council decision Thursday to award a contract to Batzer Construction to build three new ballfields.
    The council unanimously approved hiring Batzer under a $3.3 million contract that is part of a $6 million project to build the three fields and provide another 205 parking spaces.
    The park has 12 ballfields and has played host to almost one million visitors since it opened in 2008.
    "We are going to maximize the opportunities afforded to us through the expansion of this facility," Councilor Chris Corcoran said.
    The 132-acre park is located off Highway 99 in south Medford.
    Brian Sjothun, director of parks and recreation, said each field will allow for eight additional teams during a given event.
    "We won't have the waiting lists anymore," he said.
    Sjothun said he expected attendance to rise 10 to 15 percent in 2015 after the ballfields are finished. The greater number of fields should attract larger tournaments, he said.
    Batzer hopes to start construction in April and expects to finish in September.
    A dog park planned at U.S. Cellular would be roughly half the size of the one at Bear Creek Park.
    The city already has purchased a restroom building and will purchase artificial turf under separate contracts from the one awarded to Batzer.
    An economic study of U.S. Cellular prepared by the city shows it has generated an estimated $46.4 million for the local economy since it opened.
    In 2013, the 132-acre park had a 13-percent increase in the number of teams visiting the area compared to the previous record year of 2010.
    In 2013, 1,325 teams competed on the artificial grass fields, including 672 from outside the Rogue Valley, up from 589 in 2012.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.
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