A longtime project stymied by indecision has found its way back into the current City Commission's plans.

A longtime project stymied by indecision has found its way back into the current City Commission's plans.

When the city bought 160 acres for $800,000 several years ago, its purpose was to create a large ball field for soccer games and other sports.

Throwing ideas on the table at a special commission meeting, Mayor Richard Finley asked what it would cost to get some infrastructure on the 160-acre property.

Finley wondered aloud why the space is still sitting there devoid of use.

“If we had just put one guy with one bulldozer out there five years ago, I feel like we could be playing on those fields right now,” he said.

His opinion is that much could be done on the land with minimal effort, upgrading as it could be done.

The issue at hand appeared to be one of how much infrastructure would be necessary to start out with — whether it be all utilities, just water or portable restrooms and a gravel road.

Ward 5 City Commissioner Lesa Shaw said one of the board's biggest problems is that it piece meals its projects.

“We're not doing appropriate planning,” she said.

Ward 3 City Commissioner James Harrod explained that many ideas have been tossed around over the years, but nothing yet has presented itself as a viable solution.

Ward 2 City Commissioner Ron Gillham Sr. asked, “What's the great need now for baseball and soccer fields on 160 acres that's that distance away on a gravel road?”

City Manager Justin Erickson said, at this point, some of the need for ball fields has lessened because of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation complex.

“CPN does not include soccer fields; I've been in contact with a soccer associations locally and have toured several large city sites with them,” he said. “They don't have a great deal of funding, but they have a lot of passion and a volunteer base that would help once something was established.”

Harrod and Erickson both said several city locations have been looked over as options for use.

Just for soccer fields alone, at least 20-40 acres would be necessary, Erickson said.

He said a couple commissions ago the decision to buy the property and seek voter-approved funding was done and it sounds like we all need a reminder of what the potential is on the site, what it will cost and what the options are; that's something that the staff hasn't really looked at in detail for the last five years, so certainly if that's the direction the commission wants to go we'll pick it up again and get more information.

Finley then said he would like to know what the cost might be to get some infrastructure on the property.

Erickson responded, saying updated information could be pulled together quickly.

Watch for updates.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.