Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Bigfork Youth Baseball Association deal falls through

For the Eagle | June 16, 2021 2:40 AM

Bigfork Youth Baseball’s field of dreams will have to remain a dream for now as the site of the proposed sports complex was unexpectedly sold to a different buyer last week.

According to the Bigfork Youth Baseball Association, the deal that had been in the works since last August fell through when the owners of the 20-acre parcel on the north side of Montana 83 informed the organization via text June 9 that the land had been sold to a competing buyer.

“We are sad here, to say the least,” Ryan Nelson, who was helping negotiate the deal, said in an email.

According to Bigfork Youth Baseball Association president Nathan Mayer, $100,000 in donations would have been needed by Aug. 15 to provide a down payment on the land. A planned fundraiser, which had been set for June 26, has been cancelled as the organization continues to look for a new site.

According to the organization, several similar land deals have been proposed over the past several years, but opportunities to purchase the land that would be needed to build such a facility are quickly disappearing.

“People have been trying to do this for five to 10 years, not on this specific piece of land, but it is something our kids have needed for a long time,” Mayer said in an interview May 24.

After years of being forced to practice on run-down fields, Bigfork’s youth baseball players were hoping to have a new facility capable of hosting home games. Instead, Bigfork’s teams will continue to have to travel to Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Kalispell and beyond to get their games in.

Bigfork’s youth baseball teams currently utilize a number of county-owned fields scattered around the area, but all are aging, run-down facilities that suffer from a range of issues including rock-hard surfaces and extremely limited parking areas to one field with no running water and large tree roots protruding from the ground along the length of the outfield fence.