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MailTribune.com
  • Crews break ground on Cellular Park upgrade

  • More than 10,000 cubic yards of dirt have been moved to build three new ballfields as part of a $6 million upgrade to U.S. Cellular Community Park in Medford.
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  • More than 10,000 cubic yards of dirt have been moved to build three new ballfields as part of a $6 million upgrade to U.S. Cellular Community Park in Medford.
    "This is the gold standard," said Chuck Heeman, general manager of the Medford Rogues baseball team and Harry & David Field, which is located inside the park. "I don't see a better facility than this place anywhere.
    Much of the site work has been completed, and Batzer Construction of Medford expects to wrap things up by mid-September.
    The project involves building two softball fields and a baseball field that will also be used for soccer. An additional 205 parking spaces will be built. The park has 12 ballfields and has played host to almost one million visitors since it opened in 2008.
    When completed, the 15 ballfields will create the largest set of synthetic-turf fields in a single municipal sports park in the U.S., according to the Medford Parks and Recreation Department.
    Parks and Recreation officials expect attendance to rise 10 to 15 percent in 2015 after the new fields are finished.
    Heeman said the additional fields will attract even larger tournaments to Medford, boosting the local economy, particularly hotels and restaurants.
    "Most of the traffic for these tournaments is from out of town," Heeman said. "It's going to open up a lot of possibilities having the extra fields there."
    The Medford Rogues play their home games at Harry and David Field, but the field is also rented out to business and church groups, as well as for concerts and other events.
    Batzer's contract is for $3.3 million, but the city has purchased a restroom building and will purchase artificial turf under separate contracts from the one awarded to Batzer.
    Russ Batzer, president of Batzer Construction, said 100,000 square feet of landscaping will be installed around the fields, which sit at the north end of the park, which is visible from Interstate 5 in south Medford.
    Batzer said his company has been able to use much of the existing dirt from the grading for the landscaping.
    Hardy Engineering and Associates Inc. of Medford engineered the project, and Galbraith and Associates of Medford designed the landscaping.
    Most of the grading work has been completed, but construction crews are installing drainage lines and erecting fencing around the fields.
    Once Batzer is finished, the city will install the artificial turf for the fields.
    Field 6 will be a full-size baseball field and have the flexibility to feature football and soccer, while Fields 7 and 8 will host youth hardball and adult slowpitch softball leagues and tournaments.
    Earlier this year, Medford won a bid for four Amateur Softball Association events that will be held at various times through the summer.
    The tournaments will attract dozens of teams from the West Coast and Rocky Mountain states.
    A dog park will also be built at U.S. Cellular at a later date, and will be roughly half the size of the one at Bear Creek Park.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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