The Gillette City Council has taken the next steps to expand local athletic fields.
Gillette is accepting bids from contractors for the construction of new multi-sport fields and more at the Energy Capital Sports Complex.
The city bought 320 acres in 2011 to make room for fast-pitch softball, and those fields opened up in 2015. Now, it wants to make additional space for local soccer and football teams, the growing lacrosse community and other field-based sports.
The city plans to build at least two multi-use turf fields, which the city estimates will cost around $3.4 million. It's contemplating building an additional field for $1.7 million.
City communications manager Geno Palazzari said the expansion will be an economic benefit and attract more tournaments and events to the park.
"We are centrally located between Billings, Casper, Rapid City and Sheridan. So we're a good place for everybody to come together. And we'd [have] a share of that youth travel movement for those sports. So we'd certainly see an added economic benefit to it as well," he said.
The expansion will also include more features for community members like parking, bathrooms and a splash park since the city pool is regularly at capacity. Palazarri said the city will also build a new playground at the complex.
"There has been a need in our community for ADA or inclusive playground equipment for people that have physical disabilities or cognitive, visual or hearing impaired. There will be all sorts of different features for that," he said
The city set aside around $5.5 million over the years and that coupled with additional reserves will set the budget for the field. Though the city won't have a final price tag until the bids come in.
Palazarri said the city has a master plan for the area's future, which includes more baseball fields and other facilities. The city hopes to begin construction over the winter.