MATTOON -- The City Council is scheduled tonight (Tuesday, May 21) to consider taking action to help fund the construction of a second youth baseball field at Lawson Park.
During its meeting at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, the council will vote on modifying the 2019-2020 city budget to show that $35,000 from the city's hotel/motel tax fund will be used to construct this new ball field south of the tennis courts at Lawson.
City Administrator Kyle Gill said Graham Field at Lawson will continue to host primary games during tournaments for ages 12 and under, but the new field will host secondary "pool" games. He said the new field will enable tournament organizers to hold more of their games at one location instead of always having to spread out to fields elsewhere in Mattoon.
Work on the additional field will start later this year so that it will be ready for tournament play in 2020, Gill said. He added that this new facility will have a fence and dugout but will not initially have bleachers and a press box, amenities that are available at Graham Field.
"We are going to start out slowly with this other field," Gill said.
The new ball field will take up part of the space used by the Mattoon Area Family YMCA for its youth soccer league, Gill said. The city will work with the YMCA on finding alternate space for soccer games as needed, he said.
Gill said the city's hotel/motel tax fund has been used for developing athletic facilities at the Roundhouse Sports Complex over the years. He said this fund is designed to support events that bring overnight guests to Mattoon.
"A lot of our tourism is from tournaments at those ball fields," Gill said.