By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
This summer Sixth Avenue Memorial Field will get its first major facelift since the 1970s.
On Monday the Havre City Council unanimously approved a $5,889 local match to a $38,001 state grant to revamp the ballpark.
The $43,890 project will include making it more handicap-accessible and putting in a landscaped memorial where the parking known as the "pot lot" now sits.
The city match will probably consist mostly of materials and labor, rather than cash, city public works director Dave Peterson said.
The project will be "creating a nice environment down there where all that garbage currently sits," Havre Mayor Bob Rice said Monday night.
Rice called the project "all in all a pretty darned good project for Havre."
Planned changes include installing concrete sidewalks to provide wheelchair users better views of the game and easier access to restrooms and concession stands. A new fence and sprinkler system will be installed, said Peterson, who also is president of the Sixth Avenue Softball Association, which applied to the City Council for CTEP funds to make the changes.
The other major part of the proposal, Peterson said, is to replace the parking lot on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street with a landscaped memorial to Havre residents Monty Holden and Karen Paronto, who left money for the renovation of the ballpark when they died.
Holden, who died in December of 2001, was a Havre fastpitch legend. Paronto, a longtime softball enthusiast, died in April of 2002.
Peterson said the memorial will consist of shrubs, grass, trees, concrete, flag poles, and probably a sign. In the past, he said, people have parked in the lot to watch the games from the outfield, but the city has had trouble keeping the area clean.
"The biggest problem we have down there is that cars go down there and park, and instead of using the cans, they throw it on the ground," Peterson said. He said the city has tried posting anti-littering signs, but in the end, maintenance personnel or participants in the mayor's youth program had to clean up the lot. He also said the asphalt in the lot is crumbling.
Work is slated to begin in June after the proposal is submitted to the state for approval, Peterson said, and will hopefully be completed by September or October. But there is no guarantee the state will agree to fund all of the proposed upgrades.
"Hopefully everything that we're putting in for will qualify, but we don't know," he said.