Wright City

Wright City wants progress at park as minor changes to plan considered

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 8/11/23

Wright City, Missouri, parks officials are looking at minor changes to the baseball fields at the new 62 acre park as the mayor and alderman push for phase 2 work to begin.

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Wright City

Wright City wants progress at park as minor changes to plan considered


The next phase of work on the new 62-acre park in Wright City has been temporarily delayed while parks officials look at making minor changes to the designs of the planned baseball fields. 

The current plans include four fields, three of which would have outfield dimensions of 300 feet to left, center, and right fields.

“That’s my largest concern if the goal is to be able to have these available for tournaments,” Parks Director Stuart Bruning said during the Aug. 7 board of alderman workshop meeting. “Even if it’s for slow pitch adult softball, for anyone who’s in high school or an adult, 300 feet is essentially a pop fly.”

The field dimensions became especially relevant after engineer Scott Kolkmeyer told city officials the next phase of the park would include putting up fences and installing lighting.

“We needed to keep the buffer from the property line with the subdivision, and we needed an amount for the parking lot and then the area between,” Kolkmeyer said. “Actually we had to reduce the size of the small field where we need to work the 25-foot tree buffer.”

Kolkmeyer also said changing the design of each field would be difficult because of work that’s already been completed.

“It’s not much wiggle room,” Kolkmeyer said.

A detention basin near the creek that runs through the park and the creek itself limit any major design changes.

“We’ve got some room on the north field at center field, but in left field we were right up against the creek,” Kolkmeyer said.

Bruning suggested if the dimensions of each field couldn’t be changed that taller fences be installed in center field.

“So when do we bid this out?” asked Board President Ramiz Hakim.

“Well I guess what we have to do first is figure out what we’re going to do because it doesn’t sound like we’re happy with the drawing that we have,” Mayor Michelle Heiliger responded. “But we’ve spent a ton of money already.”

Bruning emphasized that the money spent was a big reason why the city should consider minor modifications before moving forward with the next phase of the park.

“My real question is, with the amount of investment we’ll have to put in building these facilities, are they going to fit the needs that we have for the future? Are they going to fit the needs if we want to have tournaments here?” he asked.

Hakim, though, wanted to make sure the city’s focus was on its residents first.

“The number one need above and beyond anything are the kids that are in our ball leagues,” he said. “Tournaments are secondary, and income, revenue comes secondary to having a good healthy ball league where our kids can play T-ball.”

Hakim also emphasized the need to show the city’s residents that progress is being made.

“The people want their park on Westwoods,” he said. “And anytime we go back and make adjustments, it just kind of slows down the progress. Now we need to do it right. At the end of the day, we have to turn Ruge into soccer fields and we need to turn this new park, which is yet to be named, into baseball fields. And we need to follow through with the promise that people were given six years ago when this was put on the ballot.”

The discussion, which lasted more than half an hour during the meeting, wrapped up with the mayor asking for Bruning and Kolkmeyer to get together within the next few weeks and ultimately make a recommendation to the board.

“In a lot of cases, some of these changes are not necessarily going to push back the timeline,” Bruning said. “But if we’re going to change things, now’s the time to discuss that. It’s because once we’ve spent all the money that’s going to go into this, we can’t decide we want to move a fence.”

“I agree with you a hundred percent,” Heiliger said. “But I just want you to be prepared for we’re going to be pushing to move. We’re not going to be sitting here two years from now going ‘let’s pick a fence.”

“I think everybody’s on board with that,” Bruning said.

The discussion about the baseball field dimensions followed an update on work that’s already been done on the 62 acres.

Kolkmeyer said that grading has been completed for the ballfields, parking lots, playground areas, and the roads. He also said storm sewers, creek crossing, and the detention basin were also completed along with the sanitary sewer and water main extension.

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

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