As one project at Pierce Field is completed, plans for another improvement at the park have been finalized.

As one project at Pierce Field is completed, plans for another improvement at the park have been finalized.

The new accessible playground equipment has been installed at Pierce and is open for pleasure, said Sean Robey, parks and recreation director.

The playground piece includes numerous elevated play components with ramps that make them accessible for those in wheelchairs or motorized devices, he said.

There are also several ground-level components that youngsters can use, Robey said. A rubberized accessible surface was also installed.

Since the playground equipment was installed earlier this month, it has been heavily used, he said.

"People really seem to like it," Robey said.

The final design plans for a new multi-purpose building at Pierce Field have been completed and Robey said the next tasks will be to work out financing for the $500,000 project and to gain planning commission approval of a major site plan.

"We'll be sitting down with (city council's) finance committee to look at funding options," he said.

"We're kind of working on a tight schedule," Robey said, because the parks department would have work on the new building begin as soon as possible after the Bobcat Boosters' Ox Roast, schedule for Sept. 8-10 at Pierce Field.

The plan would be to complete the new building by the beginning of the high school softball season next March, he said.

"That's the time when nothing really is happening at Pierce Field," Robey said.

The multipurpose building would include a kitchen area in which the Boosters would sell, but not cook, the beef they sell at each year's ox roast; a storage area; and restrooms.

The side of the building facing toward the T-ball diamond would include a shaded patio area where people could sit while watching games. The other side would feature a covered patio with picnic tables.

The building would be located between the park's two ball diamonds, approximately where the current restroom building sits, Robey said.

The building would be about 1,300 square feet in size.

A new pit for the Boosters would be located to the north of the new building near Hilo Lane.

The Bobcat Boosters have approved of the new location for the pit, Robey said.

The existing three buildings at the park would be demolished, he said.

"They were built by volunteers sometime in the late 1960s, 1970s time frame," Robey said. "They have served us well, but they are well past their prime. The restroom facilities are in particularly bad shape."

Some of the funding for the project could come from revenue from the additional 0.25 mill in available inside millage the city is now collecting and setting aside for a parks fund, he said. Funds would also come from the parks department's share of the bed tax now being paid by the Hyatt Place Hotel in the Grandview Yard development.

There could also be an effort to obtain grant money or a loan to complete funding for the project, Robey said.

The need for improvements to Pierce Field was identified as far back as the mid-1990s, he said.

"It's something we've been looking to do for a long time because Pierce Field is an important part of our community," Robey said. "Hopefully, we can put together a plan to fund the project this year. We're keeping our fingers crossed."