On Friday, the city of Odessa will start removing sports equipment and construction structures – including football goals, bleachers, AstroTurf and fences – from UTPB sports facilities, as part of a agreement reached by city and university officials.
The property being removed is owned by various Odessa-based sports associations that have used UTPB facilities for up to 25 years. Sports association leaders decided to grab their equipment and relocate after being unable to negotiate a new contractual deal to continue using campus facilities.
“We are grateful that the city is working towards an orderly and professional transition to the UTPB sports grounds,” UTPB President Sandra Woodley said Thursday. “Contractually, the City has the right to remove the equipment and permanent structures from the UTPB park, and it has chosen to do so.
“Due to safety concerns related to the removal of the permanent structures, the City accepted the University’s request to use professional contractors to carry out this work. “
City manager Michael Marrero said Thursday that the sports association will be responsible for securing professional contractors, but city funds will not be used to pay them.
City staff will be on hand to ensure items are removed properly and campus grounds are returned to proper condition, Marrero added.
“The city pays nothing,” Marrero said. “We will help you if needed and oversee the work in progress to make sure everything is handled properly and safely. “
Once the equipment and structures are removed from the ground, members of sports associations will be responsible for transporting the equipment off campus, Marrero said.
The issue became a subject of controversy when at least one sports group started early last weekend removing goalposts and other equipment from the UTPB without permission.
Campus police eventually confronted and arrested the group.
According to the city’s agreement with the UTPB, only the city or a designated third party can collect the property.
City council on Tuesday asked city administrators to meet with UTPB officials this week to see if they would be willing to allow sports associations to remove their own equipment this weekend. The university’s response was a firm “no”, school officials said.
Items to be phased out by the city include 72 football goals, eight scoreboards, several storage buildings, fences, multiple bleachers, shade structures, concession fixtures, grounds maintenance equipment, ice systems, AstroTurf, batting cages and other items.
Football equipment is expected to be transported to Sherwood Park, where association football teams start playing on August 16.
Marrero said only certain items would be removed on Friday, with the remaining assets of the sports association being removed by August 31, when the city’s contract with the UTPB for the use of the sports grounds expires.
Woodley thanked the city on Thursday for its help in developing the UTPB athletic fields over the past 25 years and said the university remains committed to continuing to provide a space the community can use.
“The University is very grateful to (the) many community partners who have come forward to offer their support to improve the UTPB Park and improve the overall experience of the teams, organizations and associations who wish to use them. “said Woodley. “The University appreciates the overwhelming response from the community expressing a clear desire to see UTPB parks filled with activity and fun.”