Baseball group won't send new Ray Winder Proposal

A group hoping to use Ray Winder Field for high school, college and American Legion baseball will not submit a new proposal to the city before Monday's deadline.

"It was just a convoluted process," said Rex Nelson of the Ray Winder Field Foundation. "We had spent a great deal of time to go in circles."

Ray Winder Field opened in 1932 and was home to the Arkansas Travelers before the minor league baseball team moved to Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock after the 2006 season. A committee reviewing the field's future sided in January with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in its attempt to acquire the land for expansion. The Little Rock Zoo also wanted the land for expansion.

The city later had to toss out the three proposals and start the process over again after city attorney Tom Carpenter said UAMS and the zoo wrongly discussed dollar amounts in the time their proposals were being prepared, and that the Ray Winder Field Foundation did not meet minimum requirements for consideration.

UAMS and the zoo both expect to submit new proposals before the Monday deadline.

Nelson said he is still open to working with UAMS to keep Ray Winder open for baseball - if UAMS acquires the land and doesn't immediately need it for expansion. He also said he hopes the city will decide to reject all the proposals and keep operating the ballpark as part of a city park.

"At that point, we would be available to act as a volunteer group to help them raise money to do that," he said.