WINONA – The Winona Board of Aldermen will consider spending a hefty amount to upgrade four ball fields at the Winona Recreational Park from grass to turf if the city can cover the cost of the project.
Winona Park Director Mike Narmour presented two quotes to the Winona Mayor and Board of Aldermen to replace the grass in the infields of four ball fields at the Winona Recreational Park with artificial turf. The lowest quote was $607,750 to replace 55,000 square feet of grass with artificial turf.
Narmour said rainy weather has already caused the cancelation of three and-a-half tournaments scheduled in Winona. Cancelations cost the city much in entry fees, admissions, concessions, and sales tax across the city.
In a previous interview, Narmour said the Winona Recreational Park hosts up to 12 tournaments each year, with some tournaments drawing more than 70 teams and up to 1,500 spectators. Tournaments mean big business not just inside the park but throughout the City of Winona as visitors eat, shop, and lodge in Winona.
Narmour said that already Oxford and Ridgeland has turf on their fields, and the proposed park in Grenada is expected to have turf fields.
“There are so many options for turf,” Narmour said. “It is hard to get some teams to come to dirt and grass. With all these turf fields popping up, it is going to get harder and harder to get teams to play.”
Alderman Mickey Austin asked Mayor Jerry Flowers and City Clerk June Williams to come up with different ways the city can afford to make the upgrades at the park before the city seeks official bids.
Narmour said if the city plans to upgrade the fields by next year, work needs to begin in early October.
In other city business:
• The board approved the application of a seatbelt grant by the Winona Police Department that would reimburse the city $6,312.96 for overtime hours worked by patrolmen and sergeants at the department if they cracked down the state’s seatbelt law.
• The board accepted the resignation of Shawn Turner from the Winona Police Department.
• Officer Oliver Hughes received a round of applause from those present at Tuesday’s meeting for his recent service to our country. Hughes recently returned from a deployment in the Middle East and is excited to get back to work at the Winona Police Department.
• The board approved the use of the north end of Front Street for a benefit for Bernard Yates on May 25 beginning at 10 a.m. Yates, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, lost his home in a fire last month.
• The board approved becoming an ACT Certified Work Ready Community.
• Winona-Montgomery Public Librarian Wendy Rushing gave the board an update of library patronage for January and February. 6,810 patrons visited the library, 1,469 computer users logged in, and 2,966 items were circulated at the Winona-Montgomery Public Library.