Bragging that Oak Grove Ballfield Complex is one of the top sports venues in Texas for youth, city leaders gave the green light to a major renovation project that includes a new field.
“Oak Grove Ballfield Complex has become a premier destination in the state of Texas for youth baseball and softball league play as well as tournaments, since the reconstruction in 2009,” Grapevine Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Mitchell said.
Last month the Grapevine City Council awarded a contract to Valley Quest Designs of Argyle for the conceptual landscape plan for architecture, engineering and architectural services for the renovations, upgrades and additions.
“The renovation of the Oak Grove Softball Complex will be another jewel in the crown for the Grapevine parks system,” Mitchell said.
The renovation will include covered stadium seating, net backstops, bullpens for each field, fields that are 300 feet and 220 feet for youth, a playground, eight batting cages, a modern restroom and concession building, a maintenance building, a connection to the C. Shane Wilbanks Hike & Bike trail, extra large dugouts, WIFI, video streaming of games, a food court terrace area and expanded parking. The nearby boat ramp will also receive a restroom.
“We will have the same type of partners for concessions,” Mitchell said. “We currently partner with Chick-fil-A and Meat U Anywhere BBQ. We have a few surprise menu options we will unveil at the new complex.”
The timeline was to have everything completed and operational by 2018 or “worst case” the spring of 2019, Mitchell said.
The City Council was told that city staff sent out an RFQ (request for quotation) for design services to landscape architectural firms in Texas. They received about a dozen. Seven were submitted, three declined due to their current workloads and from the remainder Valley Quest was chosen.
Valley Quest Design has more than 30 years of combined staff experience, specializing in parks, trails and athletic complexes both municipal and collegiate.
“After evaluation and interviews, the team selected Valley Quest Design, due to their process, team structure, and experience,” Mitchell said.
Andrew Cousins of Valley Quest Design said he is “definitely excited and overjoyed” at being selected.
One of a handful of staff, Cousins said they are honored that the city offered a major project as prime consultant to their small area firm when larger firms were in the mix, adding that he and his wife lived in Grapevine for 10 years before moving to Argyle in 2015.
Cousins said he is excited to be working on the design team with Kirkman Engineering and Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture (BRS), the latter that did design and a multimillion renovation and addition to the Grapevine community activities center, called The REC of Grapevine.
Oak Grove through the years
The project came to the forefront in 2007 when the city began its pursuit of redeveloping Oak Grove Park, specifically the ballfield, soccer and softball complexes.
Renovations at the Ballfield Complex and Soccer Complex were completed in May 2009.
“Unfortunately, at the time, funding did not allow for renovations of the softball complex,” Mitchell said.
The original two fields at the softball complex were constructed around 1972. Since that time, a third field was added and then eventually lights were added to the third field.
Adult and youth softball, baseball and kickball continue to remain popular for Grapevine residents, staff said.
The proposed project will add a fourth grass field to the Oak Grove Softball Complex, upgrade the concession stand area and restroom facility to meet current ADA and Architectural Barriers Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS)-TDLR standards, enhance the site work, add a playground, connect the trails system to the boat ramp and provide a dedicated restroom for the boat ramp.
The architecture and landscaping will mirror the Oak Grove Ballfield Complex renovation from 2009.
One of the complex’s biggest fans since Day 1 is Michael “Coach Mike” Richmond. Richmond began taking his son Timothy to Oak Grove to play T-ball in 2005 when “there were cracks in the dirt and the fields were outdated.” Today, Timothy plays baseball at Colleyville Heritage High School.
Richmond, former president of Grapevine Youth Baseball and former chairman of Grapevine Baseball/Softball Association, said upgrades will help youth continue to have the opportunity not only to play at the local level but “to perform at a higher level.”
Grass to synthetic turf
Plans have been approved to purchase synthetic turf for fields A, B, H and I.
“The turf being proposed in this project will allow the fields to remain playable during many rain events that have typically caused cancellation due to wet fields,” the director said. “It is very important that recreational and tournament play continue as much as possible because rescheduling typically is not an option due to the large number of teams and a short season.”
The project will remove the existing grass from infields and foul territory on the four fields and replace the grass with synthetic turf.
Mitchell said the addition of synthetic turf will solve current issues with the water seepage from the underground spring on the fields, which affects playability in non-weather events.
“The addition of synthetic turf is a field standard now used on local high school, college and professional fields,” he said.
Mitchell said the turf project is expected to be be complete by the start of the fall season.
The director said the financial benefit from “an new modern softball complex is huge.”
“Currently we cannot host a softball tournament,” Mitchell said. “This new complex with the complement of other softball fields in Grapevine will allow tournament play to occur. League play for youth and adults will also rise. Anytime you build a brand new state-of-the-art facility people want to play there versus an out-of-date facility.”
Boon for Grapevine
Mitchell said the main beneficiary will be the residents of Grapevine youth and adults who play softball in Grapevine.
Currently, the Grapevine Parks & Recreation Department has a partnership with Major League Baseball and their softball initiative.
“We see partnerships like this to continue to grow,” Mitchell said. “Grapevine is the only city in the state of Texas with such a partnership.”
A big draw compared to other facilities in the area is the view.
“Grapevine fortunately has the only softball complex with a view of Grapevine Lake,” Mitchell said. “It is like anything else anytime something of this magnitude is built: the newest and latest and greatest is the best.”
Oak Grove Ballfield Complex has chalked up numerous honors for its complex, including local, state and national awards. Accolades have been bestowed by The Texas Recreation and Parks Society; Texas Turfgrass Association and Sport Turf Managers Association among them.
Fall registration is underway for baseball and softball. Visit www.playgrapevine.com.