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Dardenne Prairie Athletic Complex receives approval

Dardenne Prairie’s current baseball fields

On May 20, the Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen voted to authorize financing for a proposed athletic complex in City Hall Park.

“We should have $3 million in by next week,” Mayor Dave Zucker said on May 20 prior to the board meeting.

On a vote of 5-1 with Alderman Dan Koch [Ward 3] opposed, the board approved an ordinance [No. 2025] authorizing a lease purchase transaction, the proceeds of which will be used to pay for the cost of developing the Dardenne Prairie Athletic Complex and other related expenses.

Anticipating approval of the financing, Zucker indicated that RFPs [requests for proposals] would go out the week of May 25 and that bids were expected back by June 17.

“We will evaluate those the last week of June, and the construction contract award is scheduled for July 1,” Zucker said.

The city’s ability to create the athletic complex is the result of two separate land acquisitions. Historically, the Dardenne Athletic Association, a volunteer organization, operated youth baseball leagues on 4.5 acres adjacent to city hall. In 2016, the parks department took over operation of those leagues, and this spring, the Athletic Association deeded its land to the city.

“We closed on that land two weeks ago, Zucker said.

In July 2019, the city added 1.92 acres when it purchased a soybean field immediately south and adjacent to the current ball fields at a cost of $335,000.

“We now have a 6.5 acre parcel,” Zucker said. “We’re going to add a field, redo the lights, tear down the old cinder block structure, build a modern bathroom, storage building. We’re going to put a maintenance building in the back. We’re going to pave the parking lot, put in a walking path, two pickleball courts and leave room for additional facilities when time and money permit.

“This is something we’ve been working on for quite some time and all appears to be coming together so we’re pretty happy about that.”

The development of a city athletic complex has been a topic of discussion and planning since 2015.

“One of the things that we’re going to do at the July 1 meeting is acknowledge in person the members of the Dardenne Athletic Association Board of Directors who we’ve been working with and who agreed to make the donation of their property,” Zucker said. “We want to recognize them and their predecessors – generations of predecessors who provided a service to the youth of our community.”

The summer season was slated to begin June 1. Games will be played Monday through Friday at either 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. and spectators are welcome.

“We have bleachers,” Zucker said.

So fans who are hungry for baseball have an option.

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