It will cost $549,510 to convert Morenzone Field that was created originally for adult softball to accommodate 13- to 15-year-old Little League baseball play.
The Manteca City Council last week awarded the project to Sierra Valley Construction. Work on the Center Street field west of Union Road and immediately south of the golf course parks maintenance yard is expected to start in the coming months.
The work includes removing the existing backstop, dugouts and fencing and expanding the field area. Improvements include fencing, scorekeeper’s booth, dugouts, bullpens, site furnishings, a 30-foot tall backstop, and a 50-foot protective netting to prevent baseballs from leaving the field. The netting will help reduce city liability.
There will also be concrete walkways added and restroom upgrades to assure they meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
The infield will be modified for 90-foot base lines and new bleachers installed.
Mayor Willie Weatherford and Councilman Vince Hernandez met with leaders from the city’s three Little Leagues — Northgate, Spreckels, and Manteca — over the past several years to discuss the project.
Converting the lighted field for baseball play has been talked about for years. When Big League Dreams was being pursued to accommodate adult softball, the city council at the time indicated the long-range plan was to make Morenzone available for baseball since the softball use would shift. The BLD sports complex has been open now for seven years.
Projects that were bumped to make the renovation possible included exercise stations at Woodward Park.
The fees being used were collected from new growth specifically for parks and recreation projects.
Due to higher than expected costs, the council had to transfer $61,730 from the dog park project to the Morenzone Field undertaking. City Manager Karen McLaughlin said that is not expected to delay the dog project.
Due to current workloads, design work on the dog park won’t probably get underway under later next year.