American Legion Park
Acres: 16.6 acres
Park Hours: 6 am to 11 pm; Fishing Hours: 4:30 am to 11 pm
Maps & Documents
- Fields – Game
- Picnic Areas
- Reservable Shelter
This twenty-acre park was originally leased to the city in 1966 for $1.00 a year by American Legion Herbert Williams Post 202. The lease was reissued in 1991 for $10.00 a year. In September 2000, an agreement was approved between the City and American Legion post 202, whereby the Legion would donate 16.61 acres to the City in return for the whole 20 acres of property being annexed into the city limits. As part of this agreement, the City would extend its sewer lines to serve said land, thus alleviating the Legion’s need to renovate its sewer system.
While the land was donated by the American Legion, the City did incur costs of $150,000 to extend the city’s sewer lines to the property. This money was appropriated from the Capital Projects Fund.
The City also entered into an agreement in March 2001 with American Legion Herbert Williams Post 202 to have the right of first refusal on the remaining 3.09 acres retained by them. The City paid $3,000 to Post 202 upon execution of the right of first refusal agreement.
In 2006, Columbia Professional Baseball, LLC, owners of the minor league professional baseball team – the Columbia Diamonds (formerly Mavericks), approached the City Council with a proposal to build a sports complex on the site of American Legion Park.
After a public hearing on June 19, 2006, the City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Columbia Professional Baseball contingent upon satisfactory arrangements being made for replacement fields and endorsement of the MOU by the American Legion Herbert Williams Post 202.
On December 11, 2007, representative of Columbia Professional Baseball secured the endorsement of the members of American Legion Post 202 for the proposed stadium agreement. Under the agreement, American Legion would receive revenue for renting out its meeting hall for events, with a guaranteed minimum of $50,000 annual income. Columbia Professional Baseball would also provide as much as $250,000 in renovations to the Legion’s meeting hall, which the Legion would continue to own and maintain.
The impact to the Parks and Recreation Department would be the loss of the park, including two baseball fields, one of which being the only regulation-size baseball field in the City’s park system. The execution of the MOU with Columbia Professional Baseball was the impetus for the City to begin development of two baseball fields at Atkins Park. The City Council decided to move the $325,000 2005 Park Sales Tax ballot funds identified for American Legion Park improvements to the youth athletic fields at Atkins Park project. (See related Council items.)
By the close of Fiscal Year 2009, Columbia Professional Baseball had not returned to the City to discuss an agreement for the use of American Legion Park. Therefore, in Fiscal Year 2010 a capital project was budgeted with Recreation User Fee funds for improvements to American Legion Park, with some of the work being accomplished with in-house labor. Information regarding the park capital improvment projects from 2009 on can be found via the links below.
Capital Improvement Projects and Council Items
|Year Completed / Council Legislation Date||Project Description|
|Overlay Asphalt Drive – (Annual Roads and Parking)|
|American Legion Park Improvements – Ball Fields|
|Annual Roads & Parking: Asphalt expanded parking lot|
January 21, 2014
|Council Item: MDC Grant for Archery Targets|
|American Legion East Field Lights|
|Annual Park Improv: Archery Range Improvements|
|Annual Roads & Parking: Asphalt Overlay|
|American Legion Improvements – Shelter and Playground|
Related News Articles:
- Mavericks’ future faint as city plans for park
Columbia Daily Tribune – January 17, 2010
- Columbia still waiting on Mavericks’ pitch – Wendts facing lawsuits with Texas league
Columbia Daily Tribune – June 25, 2009
- American Legion OKs pro baseball agreement
Columbia Daily Triburen – January 17, 2008
- Agreement close for professional baseball stadium – Mavericks make pitch to legion
Columbia Daily Tribune – December 3, 2007
- Council gives Mavericks’ pitch a public hearing
Columbia Daily Tribune – June 18, 2006