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School's use of baseball diamond concerns village

Rasmussen (click for larger version)

Nordmeyer (click for larger version)
May 13, 2014 | 02:10 PM
WALWORTH — What started out as too many foul balls showing up in yards along Fifth Avenue has become a discussion of who controls the village park and baseball diamond on Devil’s Lane.

Earlier this year, Grace Churchill asked the village board to look into the configuration of the baseball diamond. She said she gets dozens of balls in her yard during a game.

At the May 12 village board meeting, Trustee LeRoy Nordmeyer said the village can move an electric switch from behind home plate to the outfield, which will eliminate poles and wires. Previously, the foul ball nets were shortened because of the nearness of the electrical wires.

With the switch put in the outfield, the foul ball nets can be higher, and Nordmeyer said fewer balls will end up in yards along Fifth Avenue.

The foul balls are only one issue in that one-block park, though.

Nordmeyer said “an obnoxious” blue tarp has appeared on the baseball diamond.

“I think it’s the school’s tarp,” he said. “It’s covering more than the infield, though. It’s going 20 to 30 feet into the outfield. It’s huge.”

Nordmeyer said Big Foot High School is taking liberties without consulting the village board.

“This tarp prevents other groups from using the diamond,” Nordmeyer said.

Director of Public Works Tim Boss said that Big Foot doesn’t pay anything to help maintain the cost of the diamond.

Boss said the Ball and Glove organization uses donations to maintain the field.

Village President David Rasmussen said the village board has authority over the park and baseball diamond because there is no agreement between the village and the high school.

“It seems appropriate that they contribute to field maintenance,” Rasmussen said.

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He said recreational facilities are important for a village with young demographics like Walworth. Rasmussen suggested that the public works committee review the park use and recommend a policy to the full village board next month.

“It’s probably time for an agreement with the school,” Nordmeyer said.

Highway 14 update

Pam Larson, acting administrator at Walworth Elementary School, presented the village board with some crash statistics of vehicles near schools.

She said for the parent of a child killed, one is too many.

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“You said at the last meeting that we (the school board) were appealing to emotions, well, absolutely we are,” Larson said. “When it comes to protecting our children, we’ll do anything.”

Larson said she was open minded about having a discussion with the board on the issue.

Rasmussen said he had requested additional information from the Wisconsin DOT about the project and safety features, and he would meet with Larson one-on-one to discuss it as soon as he received the information.

Tornado siren

Boss said the tornado and severe weather siren in Devil’s Lane Park isn’t working.

It was tested a few weeks ago, and replacement parts were ordered. The other siren is still operating and can be heard throughout the village.

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