By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre City Council has approved work proposed by the Havre Youth Baseball Association to improve Legion Field in Havre and will consider applying for a $75,000 loan with the state to pay for the work.
"We can't do it all at once ourselves," Katie Heath, president of the association, said Monday at a meeting of the council's Parks and Recreation Committee. "We've done all the small projects we can do."
The City Council will discuss applying for an Intercap loan from the state Board of Investments on Jan. 3.
Havre Parks and Recreation director Dave Wilson said the baseball association leases Legion Field from the city, and must have city approval before making any improvements there.
The proposed improvements include replacing all of the wooden seating and bleacher supports, enlarging and enclosing the scorers' booth, remodeling the restrooms to make them handicap accessible, and replacing the chain-link fence between the infield and the grandstand with netting and a short fence to improve the view of the field.
Previous improvements at the field like lighting has allowed Havre to bring in more tournaments, which brings money into the city, said Pat Newell, president-elect of the baseball assocation.
Havre has hosted Babe Ruth state tournaments three years in a row, hosted the state American Legion Baseball tournament last year and may host the American Legion Baseball Northern District tournament this year, he said.
Havre Youth Baseball asked the city to apply for an Intercap loan with the Montana Board of Investments, which is similar to an $80,000 loan the city applied for to repair the icemaking machine at the Havre Ice Dome.
"We thought, 'If they can get a loan, why can't we?'" Heath asked.
Annmarie Robinson of Bear Paw Development Corp., which handles the application process for the city, said the Havre Youth Hockey Association has reduced its request to about $60,000 because the association has used some of its own money for the project.
Pam Hillery, chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, asked if the association would be able to make the loan payments.
In the proposal, the city would apply for the loan but Havre Youth Baseball would make the payments. If the baseball association were unable to make its payments, the responsibility would fall to the city.
Heath said the association has $15,000 in the bank right now, and has set aside $10,000 of that for its first payment. Concessions and fund-raising would be used to make the payments, she said.