By Amanda Rogers
Big League Dreams will have new management Dec. 1.
The Mansfield City Council voted to take over management of the 40-acre park complex after Big League Dreams missed a quarterly payment to the city. The city also has concerns about the upkeep and safety of the baseball/soccer complex.
“The reason for the termination of the agreement was failure to comply to the payment terms for quarterly payment,” said Matt Young, executive director of community services for the city of Mansfield. “They were late on the August payment, so we sent a default notification. In addition the condition of the facility, we don’t believe that in its current condition it is up to our standards.”
The $24.6 million complex at 500 Heritage Parkway opened in 2008 with a public-private partnership between the city and Big League Dreams. The Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation owns the property and BLD manages the eight ball fields, indoor soccer pavilion, two restaurants, batting cages, playground and pro shop. The original 30-year agreement was amended in 2010 and scheduled to run through April 2040. Per the agreement, the city is to receive 6 percent of the park’s gross revenue each quarter. The August payment was $56,590, which BLD paid in September, Young said, after receiving the notice of termination.
The city decided to delay taking over the park until Dec. 1 to allow the current soccer league, camps, cornhole leagues and tournaments to be completed.
The facility could be closed while the city assesses the condition of the complex.
“Over the next months, we’re working on the assessment,” Young said. “Definitely part of the park, possibly all of the park, will be closed. We haven’t made that determination yet. There are definitely portions that will not be operable."
“A lot of people are going to be displaced in the meantime,” Young said. “Some of the fields and amenities should not be used. The playground is not safe and we told BLD to close it immediately. And they did. Some of the other amenities, we don’t believe certain portions should be operated until conditions are improved.”
“I know one of the HVAC systems for the restaurants was not working,” he said. “They had put in an order (to replace it), but have since canceled the order. Part of the HVAC in the soccer complex is not operable. Those are the kind of things that some of the groups might not be aware of. They had a number of big tournaments so we extended until the end of November so they could meet their obligations.”
Young said there will be meetings with all of the stakeholders in the park – the city council, Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation, youth sports and tournament organizers.
“We are learning more and more that people used to play there but stopped because of the condition of the park,” Young said.
Young said he hopes to have the assessment done by the end of February, but several projects are obvious.
“All of the turf on the fields and soccer field will need to be replaced,” he said. “BLD had been doing patchwork. General upkeep, concrete, painting, some could be done in phases, some could take six to 12 months. We will put together a strategic plan to do those improvements.”
The complex will remain a park, Young said.
“There has been no discussion of any changes to the venue,” he said. “It’s park land and can’t be sold without an election. Park land by state law, the only way that you can sell that land is by the approval of voters.”
He has been approached by a dozen different groups about operating the complex, Young said, possibly even Big League Dream.
“We haven’t made a determination about who will operate the facility,” he said. “League City terminated their agreement with Big League Dreams, then they ended up being the operator again. They would certainly be eligible to do that. I think Big League Dreams would like to continue the partnership.”
No tournaments have been scheduled for 2024 yet, Young said.
The city has five public-private partnerships: Star Center, Fieldhouse USA, Hawaiian Falls, Mansfield National Golf Course and Big League Dreams.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.