Crews with the city of Deming and Lone Mountain Construction began tearing up portions of the baseball and softball fields at Hooten Park this week. So far crews have torn up the infield artificial turf and completed digging to facilitate a new fence to mark expanded outfields on three of the four existing diamonds.
"Basically what we're doing is we're going to rebuild the infields and put in artificial turf in the infields and we're going to expand the fences, the back outfield fencing to make each field a little bit more multi-use," Aaron Sera, city community services director, said. "As it stands, you can't play men's softball, say on the girl's softball field or the little league fields."
Currently there are four fields at Hooten Park, which is located on the corner of Nickel and Granite Streets and was built in the 1970s. The fields are dedicated for use either by Deming High School, Little Leagues or girl's softball. The plan being carried out is to make the fields abide by standards for the different types of play.
"It's going to provide a lot more options; a lot more ability to have tournaments," he explained. "Right now, girls softball cant play on the Little League fields, so that limits them to two fields. Now they'll be able to do it on at least three fields."
He said the city hopes to be finished with the fields by the end of February and possibly into March.
Another area of concern for locals, as pointed out in the late 2012 public meeting concerning the parks plan, is use of the existing dog park at Hooten Park. Locals were concerned the dog park would be shut down due to the expanded fields, but that could not be further from the truth.
"The dog park will be the absolute last thing that gets any construction going on in that area," he said. "The crews are currently working on expanding that dog park so we don't disrupt service."
Crews are essentially moving the dog park slightly over from where it currently sits to allow patrons and dogs to continue using the area while construction is ongoing.
And a second dog park is in the works, he added. The city plans to finish landscaping and grow grass in an area near the Deming Soccer League Fields, located on Raymond Reed Boulevard, for use as a second dog park. He expects it to "hopefully" be open to patrons by summer.
He also reminded locals that the city has not scrapped its plans to build a sports complex near the Industrial Park. He said that project will not "go to the wayside" and that the city will work on it as funds are available.
Matt Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org