A proposed drawing of the Tyler Sports Complex features three softball fields and two baseball fields and a concession/restroom building. Two soccer fields would go north of the circle of baseball/softball fields. Submitted photo
A proposed drawing of the Tyler Sports Complex features three softball fields, two baseball fields and a concession/restroom building. Two soccer fields would go north of the circle of baseball/softball fields. Submitted photo

Archived Story

Tyler sports complex would be pay-to-play

Published 7:35pm Monday, February 25, 2013

A proposed sports complex that would be located on the property of the former Tyler Refrigeration Company in Niles would come at no cost to the city or taxpayers.

Niles City Administrator Ric Huff, speaking at a presentation Monday in city council chambers, said Carrier Corporation has set aside a sum of money for the city to use in constructing the sports complex.

Huff, who declined to release the sum of money, said the proposed complex would be a “pay-to-play facility.”

“It has to generate its own income and support itself without any taxpayer involved in it — we don’t have the money to support this facility,” Huff said. “We are hoping to build a state-of-the-art sports facility that is self supporting. That’s the goal.”

Under the plan, the city’s parks and recreation department would create an entity to oversee every aspect of the sports complex, from maintenance to operation to supervision.

A conceptual drawing created by engineering company Whiteman & Associates shows three softball fields, two baseball fields, two soccer fields, more than 300 parking spaces and one concession stand and restroom facility.

Huff called the proposed drawing a best-case scenario.

“If we had all the money in the world, this is what we would build on the location,” he said. “About two-thirds of what you see there is a future dream of what could be built there.”

In reality, the city would likely be able to build three baseball/softball fields, parking and concessions, based on the amount of financial support Carrier is willing to give.

Dan Yerks, engineer for Whiteman & Associates, said he would like input from city residents on what type of fields should be built.

Huff said, based on his research, the community most needs a facility that would accommodate adult play softball fields for men, women and co-ed.

“I actually think it’s a concept that can provide financial support to do this,” Huff said.

Carrier — the parent corporation of the former Tyler Refrigeration Company — would own the land. The city would have an exclusive recreational easement on the property.

If the plan goes forward, Huff estimates it would be finished in the summer of 2014.

Once a plan is finalized, it will go before the parks board for approval before going before the city council for approval.

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