City officials are reviewing three bids they recently received for a major overhaul of Jack C. Fisher Park.

Submitting proposals were ATG Sports of Andover, Kansas for $998,815, Vescio’s Sports Fields of Lexington for $1,024,580 and Mid-American Golf and Landscape of Lees Summit, Missouri for $987,935.

Amanda Rogers, parks and recreation director, said these bids are the first of what will be a multiphase project set to begin in September.

According to Rogers, the initial bids are primarily for the installation of four hybrid-synthetic fields and batting cages. Upgrades will also be made to the practice fields.

She said those bids came in significantly under the $1.775 million budget, but more clarity is being sought to see if the companies submitted all of the correct number of requested items.

“I do anticipate the bid amount is going to increase,” Rogers said. “Based on the bid tabulations, I feel like there were some things neglected in everybody’s bids.”

The city’s plan is to update the 31-year-old venue in order to keep its edge with baseball and softball tournaments.

Rogers said age has caught up to the complex and it’s the city’s goal to stay competitive in the sports tournament market.

“Our field conditions, after 30 years, are just in need of some desperate attention,” she said.

Rogers said Jack C. Fisher Park is responsible for 22 to 26 weekends of tourism per year, averages at least 30 teams per weekend and brings in an estimated $11 million in economic impact annually.

“It’s a huge driver for our local economy; it really is kind of the linchpin in the sports tourism industry here in Owensboro-Daviess County,” Rogers said.

Next, the city plans to request bids for repaving and adding parking to the front lot area of Jack C. Fisher Park. The city has set aside an additional $389,000 for it.

“We’re going to more than double the size of the front areas when you first drive into the park to the right,” Rogers said.

And within the next month, bids will be requested for rebranding the location and adding new signage at the main entrance on West Fifth Street Road.

Rogers said the city will be moving away from calling it the “Owensboro Softball Complex at Jack C. Fisher Park.”

“We play as much baseball as we do softball there, so we’re looking at giving the location a new name,” she said.

Phase II is tentatively scheduled for August 2020. That’s when the city will renovate the back parking lot of the park, redo the ticketing entrance and service gate entry, and a playground will be added along with more spectator seating and shaded areas.

Although no construction is expected to start until sometime in September, Jack C. Fisher Park has already closed to vehicle traffic. It closed a month earlier than necessary to allow Regional Water Resource Agency to complete a sewer project that has temporarily closed the park’s entrance along with a portion of West Fifth Street Road to traffic.

Rogers said the park can still be accessed by foot from the David C. Adkisson Greenbelt.

“August is a slower month for us because of kids going back to school,” Rogers said. “But, yes, we normally softball through the end of October. … It’s going to affect our revenue and our tourism impact for sure, but there was no way to make these kinds of improvements and not be closed.”

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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