Softball complex ready to play ball as soon as sports are allowed

Jermaine Johnson II

City Council officially declares construction completed at Riverway Sports Park, approves them for opening there is still but no timeline

VISALIA –  When it is safe to do so, Visalia softball teams will have a brand new field to play on. At last week’s meeting, the Visalia City Council unanimously voted to authorize the completion of the softball complex at Riverway Sports Complex.

The city council authorized award of the construction contract for the Visalia Riverway Sports Park – Phase V on Dec. 17, 2018. The final walk through was conducted on June 5 of this year. The contract included the construction of a four-diamond softball complex plus four additional items, including field lights at soccer fields 1 to 5. The total cost of the project was $12,353,026 which was $449,859 under the city council’s approved budget. Any remaining funds after the completion of the project will be returned back to the Park and Recreational Facilities Fund.

The Visalia Parks and Recreation Department had a grand opening scheduled back in mid-March, but it was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.

“We are hoping to reschedule this event at some point in the future and we believe it will be a great event where we can have the community join us to celebrate the completion of the long-awaited project,” Recreation Supervisor Maggie Kalar said. “Several youth softball leagues will also be eager to use the new fields and we hope that at some point we will be able to host youth tournaments again. We look forward to the time when the pandemic is behind us and we can welcome the community back to using the venue.”

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Construction of the softball complex at Riverway Sports Park is completed.Photo by Jermaine Johnson II

The Visalia Youth Softball Association was set to have their opening day on March 14, which was supposed to be the official opening for softball at Riverway Sports Park and the fifth and final phase of the sports complex. The softball complex was also set to play host to the Kaweah Little League Girls Softball. The Visalia City Council approved contracts with both leagues at its March 2 meeting.

City activities and programs will have the highest priority for use of the field, followed by youth sports leagues that primarily serve Visalia youth, such as the two softball leagues, more countywide focused leagues and, at the lowest priority, for-profit programs and events.

For now, all events have been put on hold until Tulare County is given the green light to host large events.

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