COLUMBUS — City officials are hoping a federal program will pitch in money to build a new horseshoe complex at Frontier Park.
Columbus City Council members voted Monday night to seek $200,000 in grant funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the project. The federal grant program offered through the National Park Service and administered in Nebraska by the Game and Parks Commission supports outdoor recreation projects.
If the grant request is approved, the city would provide matching funds to construct a 24-court horseshoe facility at the park located between East 14th Avenue and the Armed Forces Readiness Center on the city’s eastern edge.
The horseshoe complex would include the pits, a concrete floor, metal roof and lighting.
Columbus Public Property Director Doug Moore believes having a covered horseshoe venue would benefit the city.
“There are several local and regional tournaments that could be hosted locally if the right facility existed, which could bring people to Columbus from up to 10 different states,” he wrote in a memo supporting the grant application.
Moore also noted that the local horseshoe club is reporting increased interest in the activity, with around 300 members in sanctioned groups across the state. The Pawnee Ringers Horseshoe Club currently holds it weekly Thursday night league in Pawnee Park.
The new horseshoe complex would be located just north of Armory Drive, but it won’t be constructed if the grant money isn’t awarded.
There are other plans in the works for Frontier Park, which was dedicated a year ago.
A design layout for the roughly 5-acre park calls for the addition of basketball and tennis courts and playground equipment on the northern edge, a large, open area in the center for various activities and practice ballfield south of Armory Drive that will also be part of a drainage area for the nearby housing subdivisions.
Moore said the Columbus Sertoma Club has committed $30,000 over three years for the playground equipment and he expects to hear back soon on the grant application for the horseshoe complex, which is due Oct. 13.
The horseshoe facility would need to be designed and bid, but it could be completed within the fiscal year that started this month.
Frontier is one of two local parks where new restrooms/storage buildings are planned.
City council members voted Monday night to seek bids for construction of the restrooms and storage facility at Bradshaw Park.
The roughly 2,400-square-foot building would replace the current storage building near the football field and add a second set of restrooms at Bradshaw Park.
Currently, people watching youth football games must use the restrooms located across the park near the softball fields.
“It’s a long walk,” Moore said.
In addition to the restrooms, the building, which has an estimated cost of $280,000, would include a concessions area, storage for the youth football program and city equipment and an overhang that serves as a picnic shelter. It would also be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
“It’s more than just a bathroom,” Mayor Jim Bulkley said while explaining the price tag.
Moore said the current storage building, which would be demolished, was built before Bradshaw Park was developed, so it sits lower than the other areas and collects water.
“When we get water or rain, it goes straight through the building,” he said.
The city council must still award a construction contract for the project, which would be paid for with local sales tax revenue. Moore hopes to see construction begin next spring.
The same design for a combined restrooms/storage building is planned for Frontier Park.