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“Lehi baseball club” proposal throws a curve in Peck Park discussion



Cody Black, a candidate for Lehi City Council, proposed the creation of the “Lehi Baseball Club” to Lehi City Council in the meeting held July 30 at Lehi City Hall. During the public input section of the regular meeting, Black presented a binder of plans for a baseball complex at Peck Park. “I have help from outside the state to finance the parks. This is not a baseball versus soccer plan. We can work together. I have talked to Bart (Preston), [Arsenal Soccer president] and we will work together to build restrooms. After the baseball fields are built, I will donate them to the city,” said Black.

Rendering of one of the proposed baseball field plans. | Courtesy Lehi City
Rendering of one of the proposed baseball field plans. | Courtesy Lehi City

A Lehi resident, Shawn Adams, also addressed the council. “I will help with my dump truck. We need to get started. We need more fields. I love Lehi with a passion.”

The discussion regarding Peck Park continued during Arsenal Soccer Club’s presentation of their concept plan. Mayor Mark Johnson reminded the council members, Albrecht, Southwick, Condie, Hancock, and Revill (listening remotely by telephone) that “this was the fourth public hearing on Peck Park.” Arsenal’s plan was to locate 20 acres of soccer fields on the south end of the Peck Park property. The agreement stipulated that there would be no lights or speakers. Parking has been a sticking point during the public hearings. Bart Preston assured the council that parking would be a problem only 10-12 days a year when the club hosted college coach days, an annual tournament, and annual tryouts in May. “Our teams will pitch in and keep the fields clean,” said Preston. The lease agreement with Arsenal Soccer was approved by the City Council in December of 2018.

Councilmember Hancock asked if there was a location on the property the soccer club wanted. “The agreement did not stipulate where the fields would be located,” said Hancock. Mayor Mark Johnson reminded the council that the city had the use of the fields 30% of the year. “Lehi will make improvements and put the road through,” said Johnson.

Dave Christofferson, a resident of the area, expressed concern with road placement, infrastructure, traffic, enforcement of curfew, and loitering at the park. He was assured by Johnson that measures would be taken to protect the surrounding area.

Tahni Hamilton, a local business owner, lawyer, and candidate for Lehi City Council spoke to the council reminding them that the agreement with Arsenal was for “any place” in Lehi. “Peck Park is the perfect place to build a sports complex. I have been meeting with three people who will be willing to donate for a baseball complex in Lehi. There is a lot of momentum and interest in this. I would hate to see the city lose out on these donors who want to give to the city,” said Hamilton.

Jason Bennett, a Lehi resident, expressed frustration with the Arsenal deal, “Arsenal holds all the cards. The city needs to be able to use the land.” Mayor Johnson said, “This is leased land. The city owns the land.” Johnson also reminded the gathering that “the citizens turned down the bond.”

In emotional comments by Lehi resident and brothers, Ryan and Mark Hansen, both reiterated the need for more baseball parks. Mark Hansen pointed out that he has worked for the city for 25 years. “We had 55 boys baseball teams this year. I have to go down to Vets and solve arguments about who can use the parks for practices. Even with new fields, we will still not have enough. We turn kids away every year,” said Mark Hansen.

Scott Jeppson addressed the council, “I have coached in Lehi for years. I have coached little league and at the high school. I am a baseball guy. I am appalled that 20 years ago we had five fields and we still have only five fields. If the bond would have been written correctly it would have passed. Spanish Fork, Salem, Riverton, and now Saratoga Springs all have done it the right way. These cities planned ahead. Lots of leagues are willing to rent the facilities in the future. I am asking you to look at building the baseball fields on the south end of the Peck Park property with soccer on the north.” The audience applauded at the end of Jeppson’s remarks.

Cole Peck presented the West Valley Complex plans to the council for consideration. A contentious exchange between Peck and city attorney, Ryan Wood, ensued. Wood presented some findings of fact in a PowerPoint presentation. The Peck family disputed some of the facts.  

Councilmember Albrecht reminded the council, “We have gone far afield of the original agenda item.”

Several more citizens including Dixon Downs, and Jason Ingersoll, Lehi High School head baseball coach, spoke to the need for more baseball fields. Ingersoll said, “flipping the baseball fields to the south is a win-win.”

Hancock expressed concern for the figures presented. “It will be a monumental task to make baseball fields a reality.” There was some confusion about the process to redraw plans. Johnson said new plans would necessitate more public input, “that would not be necessary,” said Wood. Hancock made a motion to approve the concept plan with the option to reverse the soccer fields with the baseball fields. There were triggers added to assure grading would be done as soon as possible. “Show me the papers to sign,” said Peck. “I will bust my butt to get it done,” he added. The proposal was unanimously approved.

In other business the Council unanimously approved the following items:

  1. Resolution authorizing the Red Mesa Tapaha Solar Project Transaction Schedule under the Power Supply/Utah Agreement with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) Petitioner: Lehi City
  2. Final Subdivision approval for the Ascent Academy, a one-lot subdivision located at 2199 West 900 North in an A-1 zone. (Petitioner: Tyler Bodrero)
  3. Ordinance extending the electronic billboard overlay boundary map. (Petitioner: Compass Outdoor)
  4. An ordinance allowing an auto mall (Ken Garff Jaguar/Land Rover dealership) to orient a building to an internal private drive. (Petitioner: Brandon MacDougald)
  5. Ordinance for a street vacation for a portion of 200 South in the Lehi Tech development located at 200 South 1350 East. (Petitioner: Lehi Roller Mills Apts. LLC)
  6. Concept plan approval for the Mitchell Grove, a 19-lot residential development located at 1193 West 1500 North in an R-1 Flex (residential) zone. (Petitioner: Mark Hampton)
  7. Ordinance for a development code amendment, grading permit issuance, amending when a grading permit can be issued. (It was explained by Kim Struthers, Lehi City Development Director, that grading can now be allowed only upon site plan approval.) Petitioner: Lehi City
  8. Five members were sustained for the newly formed Environmental Sustainability Committee: Steve Roll, David Bonner, Susan Wilson, Melynda Cummings, and Curtis Payne.

Resolution appointing new members to the Lehi City Library Board. New members are Rachel Barth, Ayotunde Itayemi, and Melissa Southwick.

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