City of Duvall officals recently broke ground at the Big Rock Ballfields to officially start the beginnings of a synthetic field turf project that will significantly improve the two fields at the ballpark.
This project has been in the works for a very long time and, as with many things in Duvall, has an interesting history and humble beginnings with dedicated groups of volunteers helping to pave the way.
Recognizing the need for recreational facilities to serve the relatively isolated youth population, the city purchased 10 acres of property along Big Rock Road in 1996. A community discussion of what the site should be resulted in some pretty basic concepts and goals, but provided clear direction. City staff and volunteer crews performed the initial clearing and site work, preparing the property for larger improvements. The property was subsequently annexed into the city limits for municipal ballfield and park purposes early in 1999.
In 1999 the city received a grant funding from the state for $125,000. The grant had pretty basic goals. Take a raw piece of land, and “make it into a nice grassy field suitable for the needs of youth baseball and soccer programs.”
At the time this was a huge project and commitment for the city which had never owned a park anything like this before. Everyone knew that the project had great potential, but would take a significant amount of time, effort and funding to complete. The 1999 funding application went on to also state that “…the community understands that it won’t be our field of dreams at the start. But; if we don’t start, it won’t be anything.”
Since those early years the park has seen a lot of changes and development, guided by a Master Plan that was developed in 2004. There has been slow and steady progress made on baseball backstops, dugouts and bleachers, a parking lot, the construction of a new baseball field in 2007-2008, and additional parking lot improvements in 2011.
During this time it was clear that the condition of the original fields was deteriorating and a permanent solution would be necessary to allow the fields to keep up with demand.
The Big Rock Ballfields project is now preparing for construction this year. The project will redevelop the older existing baseball and soccer fields. Improvements will include field drainage and approximately 135,000 square feet of synthetic field turf surfacing and underlayment with LED field lighting. The fields will be permanently lined for multipurpose activities and user groups will be able to enjoy year-round use and longer hours of play time.
Additional improvements consist of fencing, pathways and additional parking with parking lot lighting.