Improvements coming to Rifle’s Skinner Field — once snow melts, of course | PostIndependent.com
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Improvements coming to Rifle’s Skinner Field — once snow melts, of course

El nuevo campo de softbol en Deerfield Park en Rifle. Estuvo dedicado a la entrenadora Cindy Skinner en 2021.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Though there’s lots of snow and it’s only January, Rifle officials are in a softball frame of mind.

Skinner Field at Deerfield Park is earmarked this spring to receive $383,840 in improvements. This includes $350,000 worth of new lights and another $33,840 for new temporary home run fencing.

Rifle Parks and Recreation Director Austin Rickstrew told City Council on Dec. 21 the new temporary fencing replaces the former 4-foot tall metal fencing, which runs shortly past the waistline and creates a potential hazard for outfielders trying to rob hitters of home runs.



City Council unanimously passed the purchase of the Specto Outfield Fencing System from Grand Slam Safety, a company based in Croghan, New York. The fence, made entirely of trimmer protection and fabric, is seven feet tall and is connected to two, 17-foot padded foul poles.

“It’s kind of like a trampoline,” Rickstrew said. “You run into it and then it brings you back up. It’s not meant to take you all the way to the ground.”



Money to pay for the project is being allocated from the city’s parks and recreation fund balance. The Garfield Re-2 School District, with Rifle High School softball playing its softball at Skinner Field, is also covering half of the $33,840 cost — at $16,920.

Included with the purchase are a roller cart for the storage and transport of the fence, and a pole cart for the storage and transport of all the poles, city documents state. The fencing is set to last 10-15 years, Rickstrew said.

“A lot of sports complexes that I found that are going to this system are not using traditional chain links at the back,” he said. “They’re putting this fence in instead because it’s safer.” 

Rifle Council Member Clint Hostettler said he was happy the city is thinking about replacing the fence because the old one did pose safety hazards for players.

“At least if they don’t know it’s there, it’s safe to run into now,” he said.

In addition to the new safety fencing, City Council unanimously voted in early November to purchase all new lighting for Skinner Field. For the price tag of $350,000, the field receives six poles: four 60 feet high, and two 70 feet.

The poles, coming with 30 luminaries, are being supplied by Musco Sports Lighting, based in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The most unique aspect of these lights, the city discussed, is that they will be placed behind the bleachers at Skinner Field instead of, formally, in front.

Rickstrew said in November the lights are capable of being controlled by a cellphone.

DID YOU KNOW?

Skinner Field is named after Cindy Skinner, who helped start Rifle High School Softball. As head coach, she led the Bears to one Class 4A district title, two Class 4A Western Slope championships and multiple trips to the Class 4A state championship games. Coaching from 1995-2015, Skinner nabbed nearly 150 wins.

 


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