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For week ended March 19, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Mar00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

LDS Church Volunteers Constructing Springville 'Field Of Dreams
Deseret News 16Mar00 S1
By Jim Rayburn: Deseret News staff writer

SPRINGVILLE, UTAH -- If you closely at the middle of a prime piece of farmland at about 500 South and 900 West in Springville, Utah you will see volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints working full time on a church version of the popular movie "Field of Dreams." With a due date of late summer, every effort is being made to convert this prime piece of farmland in the southwest part of town into a four-diamond complex, complete with a central structure for score keeping, announcer, restroom and snack-bar.

"We hope to have it going for the late summer season," said David Hullinger, a counselor in the Hobble Creek Stake. However, it will not be so much a case of "if you build it they will come" but, "if you build it they will play again and again." For decades, church softball was a big Springville community activity. It was a place where families gathered on summer nights to watch husbands and fathers work off their competitive energy.

Over the past few months volunteers have installed backstops and fencing for the four diamonds. Red soil is being hauled in for the outfields and work is being installed on a sprinkler and lighting system. Work will begin soon on planting the outfield grass.

Several years ago church officials sold Kolob baseball park, adjacent to Hobble Creek near 500 South and 600 East, to the city and constructed a ball diamond near a church at 2000 East Canyon Road. That park was sold three years ago with the intention of using the proceeds to build a larger, multi-diamond ball park. Building that facility has taken longer than anticipated. Construction could not begin because a well on the land was not producing a sufficient amount of water for a sprinkling system. Finally, last summer the water issue was resolved and construction began.

When the facility is complete, softball leagues from five Springville stakes will keep the diamonds occupied through much of the summer. "In season, the church will use it to its' capacity," Hullinger said. The church hopes to restore a softball program that once thrived in the community. Springville, like most Utah cities, has been on a tight schedule to provide diamond space for the many baseball and softball leagues it run for games and practice schedules. A few years ago the city opened three new ball diamonds at Bird Park adjacent to Springville High School.

City officials hope to work out a joint-use agreement with the church that will allow city teams to use the ball diamonds in exchange for maintenance of the park. "We would like to enter into that kind of an agreement and certainly want to be a good partner," City Manager Cameron Gunter said. The location of the complex may be a concern for younger leagues until work is completed to widen and improve the west section of 400 South.


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