By Kurt Johnson
Since my commentary of last week (click here to read) related to the difficult situation with the softball field at Timpview High School, I have been contacted by representatives of both the Provo School District and Timpview High School.
In both cases, I am grateful that they reached out to me and thankful for the chance over the past couple of days to receive more information on the developments over a four-year process of trying to secure a more ideal solution for the softball program.
I am working on a full story on what has been an arduous process thus far and on the plans being developed now to get a field for the Thunderbird softball team, but while I work on getting some additional interviews to clarify details, there are a few tidbits I wanted to share today to update my prior commentary.
The Field – More details in my story to come on this one, but the end result of four years of negotiations over the park space just south of the school and at the bottom of the hill just below the Timpview baseball field is that it will apparently take an act of Congress – literally – to allow the school district to put a softball field on that piece of land.
The bottom line is that somewhere in the process of that real estate being deeded to the city by the federal government years ago, the feds included stipulations for its use. Despite agreements that were apparently in place between the city and the school district to move forward and pave the way for a softball field, they were unable to get past the federal mandate.
If you know Jason Chaffetz or Orrin Hatch or pick your U.S. government official, it might be time to let them know what you think about the role of the federal government in Utah high school softball.
It’s also most likely time for the school district and city to quickly work on Plan B, that piece of city land between Timpview Drive and Canyon Road at about 3900 North. If the two parties were able to agree on transfer of that land near the high school, it seems they should be able to work together the same way to allow for a baseball/softball complex for Timpview High at this alternate location a couple of blocks from campus.
Here’s hoping they can do so or find another suitable location.
With a large crowd assembled to honor the memory of Timpview softball’s Baylee Hoaldridge, who passed away in the fall after a courageous battle to recover from severe burns after an ATV accident last July, Provo and Timpview staged a cross-town rivalry game. It was an opportunity for both teams to respect and honor a player and her family while playing the game she loved.
Both teams honored Baylee during the game, and the Hoaldridge family announced the “Be Brave Baylee” Foundation is donating $100,000 to Timpview softball for the construction of a new field for the team. An amazingly generous gift that honors a young lady and a family that have inspired thousands. Now, let’s find a piece of land on which to honor Baylee and her legacy.
Coach Debbie Dodds – Unfortunately for the Timpview softball program, in the middle of all of this, head coach Debbie Dodds also announced to her team today that she has stepped down from her teaching and coaching positions at Timpview. Dodds is on my personal short list of the most elite high school softball coaches in the state and replacing her is going to be difficult regardless, particularly if the field situation is still in limbo.
Based on my conversations with administrators and school board members, it is expected that something will be worked out soon on the field. I will update that timeline once I can finish gathering more detailed information through official channels.