After a lengthy delay due to federal requirements, the City of Guthrie is once again set to proceed with phase one of improvements to Owen Fields for the softball and baseball youth.
On Wednesday, the City received notice from the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department (OTRD) that Guthrie has been approved to proceed with the complex improvement project.
In March of 2021, Guthrie was awarded a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant from OTRD in the amount of $1,000,000. In addition, the city council approved an additional million dollars toward the project by using the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) supported by a portion of the local sales tax.
The project includes site improvements for the construction of three new fields at the current location on Academy Road (behind Mercy Hospital Logan County), that can accommodate softball and baseball, installation of a lighting system at one new field, 1,300 square foot concessions and a restroom building, quick connects for irrigation at each field, and parking lots with rock and curb guttering.
The north parking lot will allow 191 spaces and 58 spots for the south lot. Both lots will be ADA-compliant to serve all the fields.
“We are extremely excited to see these improvements made and can’t wait for visitors and Guthrie residents to enjoy the new amenities they provide,” City Manager Eddie Faulkner said.
The time between the award of the LWCF grant (March 2021) and the notice to proceed (July 2023) was due to federal requirements outside the City’s control that had to be met before the project could begin. Inflation during that time has affected building costs considerably, so the next step toward the completion of these improvements will be updating cost estimates.
In April of 2022, Guthrie residents voted to increase the Hotel/Motel Tax from 4% to 7%, with the additional revenue allocated to sports fields. This additional revenue will assist with the local funds needed for the completion of this project.
The Guthrie Sports Task Force, appointed by the city council and chaired by resident Chris Evans, worked diligently with a wide array of city staff, community supporters, and City Engineer Bill Meyers, of Myers Engineering, to develop a project scaled to a fundable size to be both affordable and competitive for this grant opportunity.
In this fiscal year, City staff projected $377,857 of revenue from the Hotel/Motel Tax, and we are currently on track to collect $415,000. Of that, $415,000, approximately $170,000 is allocated for City sports facilities.