By Kelly Gooch
Whitehouse is looking for sponsors to help fund a proposed sports complex project, a city official announced Monday.
The project entails a variety of construction at the complex, at Farm-to-Market Road 346 and County Road 2133.
Assistant City Manager Kevin Huckabee said construction includes a new restroom facility, landscaping, drainage work and new lighting.
According to an email from Huckabee, the project is estimated to cost about $2.6 million, and the Whitehouse council already has approved an ordinance to secure a $1.8 million loan to construct a ballpark.
Huckabee has said the city negotiated a price with Schaumburg & Polk engineering firm, which brought in Tyler consulting firm MHS Planning and Design to help with the proposed project.
An advisory committee, including city workers, residents and representatives for the baseball/softball league, has discussed design ideas, he has said.
However, since the entire project is not within the $1.8 million budget, the city has designated two fields as "future fields," meaning that they would be done as funding permits, Huckabee said. He said without additional funding, the concession area would not be rebuilt either.
So the city is asking for sponsors and has applied for a Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant.
Huckabee said the city would even like the idea of naming the complex after a business.
"This is a great opportunity for local businesses to help enhance the ‘quality of life' for the citizens of Smith County and promote their business at the same time," Huckabee wrote in an email.
He added, "We've just got to … see what we can come up with."
A groundbreaking for the ballpark is expected to take place in July, so it will be ready by fall 2014.
"I think this will mean we'll get more (participation) in local leagues again (and) will draw tournaments to Whitehouse. ... I just think it's a good deal for all of us," Councilman Charles Parker said earlier this year.
For more information about potential sponsorships, contact the city of Whitehouse at 903-839-4914 or visit whitehousetx.org.