Swing for bleachers on Suplizio Field

The folks who run the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series want to trade up — at least with regard to Suplizio Field, the stadium where the annual baseball championship is played. The local JUCO committee is not looking for a new stadium, just a refurbished version of the one that’s now used.

That’s a great idea, not just for JUCO, but for the community as a whole. With a more professional-style ballfield, the long-held local dream of one day attracting a minor league baseball team to Grand Junction might move closer to reality.

We recognize, however, that funding is a difficult obstacle to surmount under current economic conditions. Public entities, such as the city of Grand Junction, which owns Lincoln Park, have limited funds to meet budgetary necessities.

Still, the same economic conditions have reduced construction costs from what they were a few years ago. It may be a good time to remodel the ballfield.

Furthermore, as JUCO Chairman Jamie Hamilton said in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel, the JUCO committee can issue bonds to fund $4 million of the $8.3 million cost of the project. The remainer would have to come from public and private contributions.

The proposed renovation would include installing much-needed seat backs on the bleachers in the fan seating area, sprucing up the dugouts and concession areas, adding a hospitality area near the top of the seating seaction and constructing a new press box.

The Grand Junction City Council’s decision Monday to authorize city staff to investigate funding strategies and potential partnerships with other local government entities was a sound one. If the project goes forward, construction wouldn’t begin until after the 2011 JUCO tournament. This allows ample time to examine a variety of funding possibilities and to seek additional money from private sources.

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