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WINDSOR, Colo. — What was once touted as the Disney World of youth sports has struck out, at least with its first location.
Windsor's "Field of Dreams," which at one time included 68 youth baseball fields and a 10,000-seat minor league baseball stadium has now changed names, changed ownership and changed locations - entirely.
Formerly known as the Rocky Mountain Sports Park, the project is now called the Colorado National Sports Park.
“It just got outside of a business window that we wanted to stay in,” said Steven Chasteen, owners rep for the new Colorado National Sports Park.
Less than a year after a ground-breaking ceremony that featured much pomp and circumstance, owners and project managers have pulled the plug on original plans, leaving many to question whether their vision was too grand to ever happen.
"I would say it's a very fair question," Chasteen said. "That project - just in the timing it took to get the project up and going to where we could start flushing toilets and turning lights on - kept slipping further and further away with the challenges of that site."
Windsor mayor Kristie Melendez told Denver7, in the end, the location at the corner of Harmony Rd. and Highway 257 was simply too problematic.
"Because there's no sewer," Melendez said. “The infrastructure was what hurt that first location and the timing."
The fields are supposed to open for play in summer 2019, but getting sewer to the original location was still nearly two years out. Although the town designed a sewer system to the site, build out was taking too long and construction costs are skyrocketing.
"I mean, a dramatic cost increase from what we had projected," Melendez said.
Investors say the project was also mismanaged. One investor told Denver7 that in nearly 40 years of real estate land development, RMSP had the most unusual leadership he’d ever encountered.
Although the Weld County DA found no criminal wrongdoing, founder Mike Billadeau and former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs parted ways last year.
Billadeau says he was forced out by Chasteen and Spilborghs, but Chasteen disputes that.
Spilborghs is now the listed owner and says he remains committed to providing Windsor a, "...state-of-the-art sports facility."
Spilborghs said, “Colorado National Sports Park is committed to bringing about a sports park that the community of Windsor can be proud of.”
Chasteen said the new location allows the project to get off the ground quicker and faster.
“We’re coming,” Chasteen said. “We’re looking forward to it. We’re actually more excited to be on this site because we’re now in the heart of Windsor. We’re ready to play ball and in July of next year – you’ll see that.”
The Diamond Valley Sports Complex sits near the Kodak facility, and Chasteen said the new plan is better and more disciplined.
"This time, we're all very cautious," Chasteen said.
Diamond Valley already features three baseball fields with room to grow.
"We are going to start building two new multi-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and flag football here immediately,” Chasteen said. “You're going to see that first."
Chasteen says they also just got a commitment from Broncos great Simon Fletcher to open a bbq restaurant here.
"Instead of sacking you, he's probably going to be handing you a sack of barbecue," Chasteen said.
But whether it ever truly develops into that field of dreams is still uncertain.
"Our goal within five to 10 years from now is that this project is built out to the same size or even grander," Chasteen said. “Never count out baseball.”
"It's no longer just a dream, but it is a reality," Melendez said. “And someday that other site will see development, too. Probably not a baseball park, but something else. So, I don’t think it was a waste of time or money to design a sewer system for that area.”