by Max Brantley
The calling of a special UA Board meeting today indicates the university will make a proposal for use of the Ray Winder Field property. The city has set a deadline today for redevelopment of the former minor league baseball park. Some baseball fans want to retain the rundown facility as a baseball field for youth sports. The best idea is from the Little Rock Zoo. It would take the land for expansion of the landlocked and popular facility for adequate grounds for an elephant breeding program. UA, believe it or not, is about to run out of room to expand UAMS, so presumably its idea is to use the property in that context.
What do I have against baseball? Nothing. But LR already struggles to maintain existing baseball facilities. The minor league park is a dump waiting to happen. It's far more of a facility than youth baseball needs. It also would lie fallow much of the year. If we are to have a zoo worthy of the name -- and the city seems committed to that over the long haul -- it needs more space. It would produce the most enjoyment for the most people, a worthy park goal.
But if none of that works out, I renew my vote for razing the field and installing a track for recreational use and the UALR track team. And certain senior walkers/discus throwers.
INSTANT SURVEY: Vote at this link on your preferred use of Ray Winder.
And here's the UAMS proposal to buy the land for parking.
Summary of four proposals received Monday on the jump. Also, at the end, the summary of one of the baseball proposals.
The City of
Little Rock received four responses to the RFP (request for proposals) for future uses of Ray Winder Field. The deadline to respond was 4:00 pm on Monday, December 1.
A review committee will be appointed by Little Rock City Manager Bruce T. Moore in the next ten days. Following a review of the proposals, a recommendation from the committee is expected in January 2009.
Responses were submitted from (in alphabetical order):
American League –Creation of a baseball youth league, a fitness camp, and an amateur baseball league for adults. American League is a non-profit based in Central Arkansas and is not affiliated with the American League of Major League Baseball.
Arkansas Zoological Foundation – Expansion of the Little Rock Zoo by creation of an Asian habitat. The existing structure would be adapted to fit the Zoo’s future needs for new amenities, education, and support spaces.
Ray Winder Field Foundation -- Use by amateur baseball, high school baseball, senior men’s baseball, and college athletics. In addition, future plans would include amateur baseball tournaments, college baseball tournaments, concerts, and special events.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences – Abate all hazardous materials, demolish the existing improvements, and use the property for parking while holding for future UAMS facility expansion.
FROM THE RAY WINDER FIELD FOUNDATION