Galveston city council will vote in the coming months on a $3.8 million grant to renovate the ballparks on 53rd Street and Avenue S.
If city council approves the grant, the renovations could be complete by spring 2018, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said.
Brandon Cook, chief of staff for the city manager’s department, said the city is excited about the prospect of improving the area, also called Fort Crockett Park.
“It’s going to be a really good place for our children to play and people to congregate,” Cook said.
Funding would come from the Galveston Industrial Development Corp., which oversees spending of the city’s 4B sales tax funds. In early March, the corporation approved granting the city $3.8 million for the first phase of the ball field project.
Phase one would renovate and add to the east side of the park. When the project is complete, the space will include three baseball fields, restrooms, a concession area, pavilions, batting cages, a basketball court and a sand volleyball court, Cook said.
The city in 2015 asked for $1.68 million for the park project. The actual amount needed is higher because the city had only conducted preliminary estimates at the time the idea was proposed, Cook said.
“That was before any type of actual work went into it,” Cook said. “It was just a ballpark kind of number.”
If the grant is approved, the city would bid out a contract for the renovations, and construction would begin by August, Yarbrough said.
A second phase of construction would have to similarly be approved. Those renovations would be to the west side of the park and would include a new walking trail, parking lot, lighting and landscaping, Cook said.
The area is used by the Island Little League, one of two leagues on the island. The West Isle Little League plays at the Schreiber Park facility on 83rd Street.
Rosemary Trevino, Island Little League treasurer, said she’s ready for renovations because the fields are difficult to maintain.
“We have kind of been waiting for it and hope it gets done soon,” Trevino said.
Johnny Smecca, chairman of the sports tourism committee for the Galveston Economic Development Partnership, called the possible renovations “long overdue.”
“I’ve been very critical of the lack of investment in our community on our recreational parks,” Smecca said. “I’m thankful that the city is making the investment. I think it’s going to spark some excitement and some future renewal of the facilities.”
The city council has yet to put the grants on its agenda.