Jon Austria/The Daily TimesConstruction to make the handicap ramps at Ricketts Park comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act rules are expected.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times Construction to make the handicap ramps at Ricketts Park comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act rules are expected.
FARMINGTON — City council will vote on Jan. 22 whether to provide $83,500 toward a renovation of Ricketts Park.

A presentation by the Connie Mack World Series Association Tuesday morning sought $54,500 in funding for electrical work and $29,000 toward a new scoreboard.

Fundraising for the project began about two years ago. So far, about $200,000 have been raised through the association's fundraising campaign and it has $200,000 in its reserve fund, according to a presentation made by Kim Stradling, association board member.

The original plans called for a $1 million renovation. That project has since been broken into phases.

"We need to have phases so we can continue to raise funds," Stradling said.

Donors were beginning to ask why there was no progress made at the park, said Kim Carpenter, association president and San Juan County Chief Executive.

"We actually had one person ask for their donation back," he said.

San Juan County and the city of Farmington collectively provided about $89,000 of in-kind support labor or other services instead of a financial investment to the project.

The Homerunners Club provided $18,000 for a new walk-in refrigerator and $28,000 toward a new scoreboard.

In total, the project's first phase cost $520,564, according to the report.

"We appreciate the work of the Connie Mack World Series Association, Homerunners and all of people that have made this project possible," said City Manager Rob Mayes.


"Our community members have stepped up, they've really carried the ball."

Unforeseen expenses have since increased costs on the rest of the project, especially on the electrical work, Carpenter said.

The Connie Mack World Series Association is looking into other funding sources, he said.

Carpenter said he talked to legislators about funding, but is keeping in mind that other projects such as the Pinon Hills Bridge and Extension are city priorities.

Renovating Ricketts Park, however, should still be a community priority, he said.

"This tournament is under attack almost annually," Carpenter said. "The city of Phoenix offered well into the six figures to buy it two years ago. The future of the facility is in your hands given that it's a city-owned facility."

These threats may not be so serious, said Mayor Tommy Roberts.

"For the American Amateur Baseball Conference to decide to move the tournament would be extremely shortsighted," he said.

The tournament is ingrained into local culture and consistently draws large crowds.

Such large crowds could be difficult to attract in a larger city, Roberts said.

Nevertheless, the renovation project deserves city funding, he said.

"The Connie Mack World Series is a means by which Farmington has a national identity," Roberts said.

Councilman Jason Sandel said that a perfect source of funding for the project would be the city's 408 fund.

The fund is used for one-time expenses on capital projects.

There is about $4 million available in the fund, Mayes said.

"We ought to assume responsibility," Sandel said. "We own the stadium. I also feel the same way about the (electrical infrastructure) in the area. The (recreation) center will share that electricity. I think that it's time we make the commitment, to get out there and make it happen."

Most city council members expressed their support for the project, but Councilwoman Mary Fischer showed concern over its budgetary impact.

"I can understand this project, but we're going to be having fewer resources," she said.

Roberts, Sandel and Councilman Dan Darnell gave a consensus vote to include funding for the Ricketts Park project on the Jan. 22 consent agenda, with Fischer voting no.

"We need to keep our eye on the ball," Darnell said. "We've had other tournaments here, and if we do these kinds of upgrades, there's a potential that we'd attract more."