e The Times-News, Nephi, Utah

 


96 South Main Street, Nephi, Utah 84648 - Voice: 435 623-0525 - FAX: 435 623-4735
News for
May 15, 2024

 
  • Restoration of Levan Town baseball field is finally moving forward

By Rebecca Dopp
TN Correspondent

After many years of discussing, planning, and saving money, the restoration of the Levan Town baseball field will finally get underway after a Little League team and its coaches addressed the town council on May 9th and expressed their willingness to volunteer, get donors, and do whatever is necessary to get the ball rolling.

Kyson Worwood, team coach, was the spokesperson for the group and first introduced the team. They are an accelerated 8-9U team, he said. They practice weekly in Levan. There are 2-3 other baseball teams that have Levan coaches as well. He was not sure about the softball teams.

“From what we’ve seen, we have no backstop, no dugouts, the outfield is dangerous because of the unloved grass,” he said. “We just want to see what it’s going to take to get some work on that.”

He said that several of the boys on the team have spent a lot of time picking up garbage, fixing the fence, and doing everything they can so they have somewhere to practice. Nephi has a shortage of fields and the Levan teams have a hard time getting into the practice rotation.

The team has been doing what they can to make the field playable.

He said that his older son’s team has a dedicated time for practice in Nephi, but because of the demand, they are only allotted an hour for practice and that wasn’t enough.

Worwood said that the Levan field has a fairly decent infield but it needs to be worked. A top level needs to be brought in to make it safe for the teams to slide on.

He said people had offered to donate dirt for the infield.

Craig Oswald, Nephi Recreation director, also spoke to the council.

All of the Levan teams play through Nephi Rec, he said. Spring season is the busiest, and there are 16 t-ball, 10 coach pitch, and 24 baseball/softball teams who are trying to practice between 7 fields.

“Time is really tough to give,” he said.

Nephi City Council decided to charge for outside teams who want to come to Nephi and practice.

He said that Seth Atkinson, Nephi City administrator, once told him that the council’s vision was to have people come off the freeway, spend their money, and then leave.

“Baseball tournaments [are] really a good way to do that,” Oswald said.

The first year as director, he said there was one tournament, the Redneck Rumble put on by Randy Cuff. The second year there were four, year 3 there were 13 and now there are 15 tournaments.

“We are looking at a surplus of sales tax in Nephi of about $500,000 which can be used for other projects,” he said. “It doesn’t add a burden to your tax base because it’s other people coming into town and getting out.”

He said that Levan would benefit from hosting a tournament especially at the convenience store and cafe.

Oswald said that the need was there, and that a man from Better Baseball Tournaments and Cuff, said they would both use the Levan field if it was useable. There would be at least 8 teams per tournament which would translate to 10-12 tournaments that Levan could participate in. Those who put on the tournaments are responsible for the costs of prepping the field and fees have been set in place. Levan Town could at least make enough money to cover the maintenance of the field.

The average cost per athlete that Utah County looks at is $250 which includes the family that comes with the player. That covers gas, hotel, and food while they stay.

Oswald said that he was also willing to bring some recreation games out to play in Levan, especially if there was a team made up of mostly Levan players.

“I’d also be willing to help out with anything you guys needed, contacts, RFPs, etc.” he said.

Nephi City is expanding their baseball facilities with a four-flex on the south end of town and three more fields at Red Cliffs Elementary. He said that right now they are turning away teams because there’s not enough fields for play.

Mayor Bruce Rowley said that one of his concerns was that if they put the money into revamping the field, would teams not want to drive all the way to Levan to play. He worried that it would be money wasted.

Council member Bre Aagard said she was not aware of the high demand for the fields.

Oswald said they are drowning in all the demand for the fields.

One of the other coaches for the team said he did not think these traveling teams would have a problem with coming to Levan. They already travel long distances to play.

Rachel Goates, council member, asked if games would be played simultaneously during a tournament. Oswald said that they would and that they already use Mona’s fields as well as the Nephi fields.

The field in Levan could also be used for family gatherings, during the 24th town celebration, and even for adult co-ed softball teams.

Mayor Rowley said that the council already had money in the budget that had been set aside years ago, but had not been used due to lack of action.

Worwood said they had been trying to get this going five years ago. He said that they needed to start as soon as possible since some of these kids wouldn’t have many more years to play.

“I love to coach...and these kids deserve a field to play on,” Worwood said.

Aagard asked if there were some specific sizes that the field needed to be. Oswald said that the town could make it big enough to accommodate baseball and softball regulations.

Worwood said that some of the first steps would be to level off the ground, put in a new sprinkler system and lay down new grass and bring in dirt for the infield. People were willing to donate some of the materials needed. They also had people who were willing to volunteer their time.

Worwood said that they needed to start at the backstop and work their way out. The town already has lights for the field that they got for free from Payson City when they tore out their old field.

Rowley asked the council if they would be okay to move forward and get some bids to see what it would cost. Goates said she would like to have some concrete plans including who was willing to do what, costs, etc. Worwood said that unless the town had a plan of their own, he was not willing to put in the time talking to people.

“That was the problem we dealt with,” he said. “We worked on it, and worked on it, and nothing ever got done.”

The money that had been set aside has just been sitting in the budget year after year.

Worwood said he had the support and the resources, as well as the donations, to get this project going. He would be willing to search out some other donations.

He said that the first step would be to meet with the council in a work session so everyone could get on the same page and work out the details. The teams would be able to continue to use the field as it was being revamped and hopefully the fields in Nephi would open up for practice while the Levan field got finished.

Council members all felt that it was the right time to get this done and agreed to move forward. No official action was taken as it was only a discussion item on the agenda.