New ballpark in discussion for district, state competitions

The rollout of the new Cameron Community Park at Old Somerville may include a few regional attractions following discussion last Thursday involving the Cameron Park Board and Cameron R-1 School District Athletic Dept. Co-Director Kristy McIntosh.

While visiting with the Park Board, Stover said the new baseball, softball and soccer complex could be the host of the Missouri State High School Activities Association District 16 Baseball Tournament this Spring, and CHS softball tournament this Fall, which she said had not occurred in nearly 20 years. 

“Our fields are not district capable for district baseball and district softball … The distance in the outfield is not large enough to hold a district baseball game, and the new fields are. I’ve been here for 17 years, almost 18, and we’ve never hosted a district game because of that,” Stover said.

Stover said the school district’s only requests are to collect ticket sales at the gate and mark their own fields for school tournaments - avoiding the city marking fee. Stover said additional requirements for districts include having an available mound, which Stover said the school district would provide, as well as portable fences for the outfield for the softball district tournament. 

“If we get the softball districts too, and there’s a 90 percent chance we would because I’m a pretty good talker when it comes to talking to the other coaches … I think we would get it,” Stover said. 

The sale of Park Valley Baseball/Softball Complex, home of the CHS Dragon Baseball Team and Lady Dragon softball team, from the city of Cameron to the school district in 2019 is what originally started the push for a new Cameron baseball/softball complex. With youth league sports now relocating to the new sports complex, Stover said the district plans to replace the Park Valley fields in the next few years. 

“Our goal, in the next two to four years is to have new fields ourselves, but it’s going to take some time. While we’re redoing ours, we would probably come back and ask you guys for the use of your fields,” Stover said. 

Stover’s announcement was far from the significant news coming from the park board last week. Last Friday, members of the Cameron Park Board and city staffers met for a special check presentation made by Jack and Alene “Al” Briggs. With foresight, due to Al serving as a member of the park board, the donations serve as the city’s park of a 50-50 matching Missouri Department of Conservation Lake and Water Conservation Fund grant for construction of a pickleball court and a shelter house near the soccer fields. 

“It’s a dream come true … We saw we had this fantastic park, and I wanted to get in early so other Cameron people would say ‘We can put in money and add to the park.’ We decided we can put in a big shelter house, and there were little pickleball courts. It’s the fastest growing sport at this time, so we said let’s build a pickleball court too. I know they should go in in twos, so the park board is going to [apply] for a matching grant for the second one, but unfortunately that’s going to put it off another year,’” Jack Briggs said.

With the donation, Briggs hopes other Cameron residents follow their lead in creating a new destination for Cameron athletes, as well as an annual stop for athletes across Northwest Missouri and beyond. For those unable to equal the Briggs’ $40,000 donation, check out page 8 for a breakdown of donation and sponsorship options. 

“We just wanted to help and make this park even better. Al has been on the park board for a long time. We just wanted to put our money where our mouth is. The shelter house will be a big one, and have a lot of special features. I think we’re going to call it the ‘Briggs Pavilion.’ That sounds pretty fancy,” Briggs said.

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