ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - Thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue could soon be coming to Altus thanks to renovations made to the city's baseball field.
In the next few weeks, the infield grass at Kiwanis Park in Altus will be replaced with field turf. Right now, Kiwanis Park is primarily used by only the Altus High School baseball team but once the work is complete, it will also be the home of the Altus softball team. On top of that, it will also play host to a variety of tournaments for teams of all ages.
"We still want to have the primary user and the first choice user to be those school teams so they'll be conducting school team tournaments on those field, but then we'll also have the youth-rec teams, all of the academy teams, the traveling teams, all of those folks will be able to participate as well during the summers. That's where we see a lot of potential," said President of the Altus Chamber of Commerce Brian Bush.
The turf will cost roughly $105,000, which is being paid for by the Altus Economic Development Corporation. Bush said they feel that is a great investment because it could bring thousands of new people into Altus on any given weekend.
"Operating this field in conjunction with other fields in town and putting together large tournaments that could attract as many as 16 teams to each tournament that happen multiple times throughout the year," Bush said. "You're talking about several players and parents and all of those families that are coming in to watch those games that are going to be staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and shopping at our stores."
Bush said they expect those dollars spent at these businesses will add up very quickly.
"The estimate per family is around $500 per weekend. So, if you look at a team having 11 players, and often times they'll have more than 11 just to make sure they have enough. But if you have 11 players and each family is spending $500 per family, that's easily over $5,000 per team in just one weekend," Bush said. "Now you're looking at 16 of those teams and multiple weekends, you can see how quickly that adds up."
Because of potential returns, the field turf is just phase one in a bigger project to fix the field.
"As the project continues we plan to make sure we are upgrading the concession stands, the restrooms, the visitor stands and the home stands where everyone watches the games. In addition to the dugouts and the locker rooms and all of the facilities around the park. We really plan on this being a multiphase plan to upgrade the entire facility," Bush said.
Bush said the field work will begin in June and they hope to have it complete by the time softball season starts this fall. Because the field will be used by different types of teams, the mound and fences will be moveable to fit their needs.