A youth baseball program has approached the City of Grand Island about leasing a baseball field from them, and the Parks and Recreation director says it could be beneficial for the city to do so.
Parks and Rec Director Steve Paustian says the city has been approached by the Grand Island Riverdogs about leasing the baseball field at Ashton Street, just east of Pier Park.
"They're willing to put some money into the field if we would be willing to give them a contract that would allow them to lease the facility and have controls over its usage," says Paustian.
Depending on the lease agreement, that might mean the field isn't open to the public anymore, but Paustian says Ashton is used mostly by the Riverdogs anyway.
"If this was a site where for example we have numerous different groups using it and it's heavily used on a constant basis, it probably wouldn't be a good lease candidate," he says.
Grand Island isn't a stranger to leasing Parks and Rec facilities - since the 1990s they've leased the Racquet Center, and it's most recent tenant - the Grand Island Tennis Association - says they've made many improvements.
"It worked out really well for us, I think it has worked out well for the city," says Grand Island Tennis Association President Matt Westfall. "It's a gem of a facility, but it had just gotten rundown over the last ten or eleven years."
Westfall says they resurfaced their four indoor courts, put up new lighting, and have plans to add spectator areas and more outdoor courts.
He says the Racquet Center is an asset to surrounding communities as well - they have enthusiasts come from as far as O'Neill to get indoor court time.
"It was kind of a win-win for both the city taxpayer and the association," says Paustian of the Racquet Center. "They put [up] the money to improve the tennis facility that we maybe couldn't afford."
Paustian says if the city leases the Ashton field, the Riverdogs would take over general maintenance and be responsible for improvements like the GITA is for the Racquet Center.