Rec center installs new batting cage

by Martin McConnell

The Broadview Heights Recreation Center has added a new batting cage to its facility just in time for spring training.

The purchase adds to the recreation center’s auxiliary gymnasium, and came at the request of the city’s athletic manager and city council.

“Gary Diehl, our athletic manager, he kind of prompted us, along with Councilman Tom Pavlica,” Broadview Heights Director of Parks and Recreation Amanda Hutcheson said. “You know, the travel teams were looking for indoor space during the wintertime, going into spring training, and in the area, there wasn’t anything that was close.”

Hutcheson noted that the purchase was approximately $20,000 in total, and there are plans for a second batting cage to be added to the auxiliary gym next to the first one. Additionally, the batting cage contains a screen allowing two teams to go inside at once, with one on either side.

The project began to take shape last fall as one of the recreation center’s premier purchases for 2022.

“I had a little bit of money left and I was trying to make my year-end purchases, and I knew that I had this portion,” Hutcheson said. “We had actually looked at a couple different companies, and Custom Netting came in at the right price, they were quick, we knew that they could proceed with it in the manner that we wanted so that we could have it for spring training.”

Hutcheson said that since the batting cage is still so new, residents can expect it might take some time for the recreation center to work out all the logistics for pricing and waivers.

“It’s here, but it’s going to take some time for all of us to pull it together, and making sure that we’ve dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s,” Hutcheson said. “We got it faster than we thought we would… We’re going to take a look at [other facilities’] terms and conditions, and then make sure that we formulate a plan.”

The recreation center has plans for the batting cage to be open to teams, residents and even non-residents. The cage might be somewhat basic by baseball facility standards, but Hutcheson wants to provide a place for batters to go when bad weather strikes.

“It was just something new that we could offer the residents here,” Hutcheson said. “So they have an opportunity to take advantage of it when it’s cloudy and stormy and [snowy].”

Above all else, Hutcheson wanted ease of use for residents wanting to take advantage of the batting cage. She hopes that residents will feel comfortable renting out and using the cage, along with the other services and programs the recreation center has to offer.

“It’s put together extremely well,” Hutcheson said. “We’re looking forward to easy use of the cage, for sure.”