Two new planned baseball/softball complexes could help two youth baseball programs squeezed by facility shortages.
The state agreed verbally in February to lease 50 to 100 acres of land to Carroll County on the southeast corner of Route 32 and Raincliffe Road.
Recreation and Parks Director John Little recently said the state and county are finalizing the written lease contract.
The Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, meanwhile, has requested $45,000 to begin design work on the complex in the fiscal 1991-1992 budget, which begins July 1. Little said the facility could have four to eight baseball/softball diamonds, several multi-purpose fields for lacrosse, soccer and football, plus picnic areas and other amenities.
The facility is needed because the Sykesville youth baseball program could lose seven of its eight playing fields to reconstruction of Obrecht Road in several years. The program, which serves about 800 players in several age groups (7 through 19) uses seven fields on Obrecht Road near the Fairhaven retirement community, and one other diamond about a quarter-mile away on Obrecht.
Tom Lee, president of the Sykesville youth program, has said the ideal situation for his group would be to lease or own the fields. But earlier this month he said the organization still is interested in working with the county on use of the fields at the new complex.
Even if money for the project flowed smoothly through the next two budget sessions and weather for construction was cooperative, the field likely would not be ready before the spring 1993 season, Little said, adding that financing delays could push that date back.
A four-diamond facility south of Westminster could be on line a year earlier, primarily because the land is being graded and seeded by the Board of Education in conjunction with the new Friendship Valley Elementary. The state helped pay for the purchase of 18 additional acres for the ball fields, which will be adjacent to Friendship Valley and a future middle school.
That facility could be used by the Westminster Little League, which is bursting at the seams at the three fields it currently uses -- one at Bennett Cerf Park and two at the City Playground.
Also, the City of Westminster plans to light fields at the three-diamond Jaycees Park complex, used by the Westminster Jaycees softball program.
Another county project to help satisfy the demand for diamonds in Central Carroll should be ready this spring, when backstops and fencing are finished on one 90-foot baseball diamond and two softball diamonds at the new Carroll Community College campus at Routes 32 and 97. That 90-foot diamond should help alleviate congestion at Landon Burns Park, which is home to the Westminster 13-15 Babe Ruth League, two 16-18 Babe Ruth teams, one American Legion team and a semi-pro baseball team.
Also helping that situation is the renovation and realignment of the baseball field at Westminster High.