Council discusses new ball diamonds
The Baldwin City Council seems to agree new baseball and softball fields will be needed soon, but the disagreement lies with who should be responsible for building and paying for them.
Council Member Amy Cleavinger told the council at Monday's meeting that the city and school district would be meeting to discuss the project and try to get an estimate on what new ball fields would cost.
The plan is to build ball fields on district land south of the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, because the district wants to use land the current ball fields are on for building expansion.
Council Member Ted Brecheisen wanted to know if the Baldwin City Recreation Commission had been included in the discussions.
Cleavinger said BCRC will be included, and there will be discussion on how the cost of the ball fields will be shared.
But Brecheisen said he didn't think the cost should have to be shared among the three entities.
"Why do you have to split up the cost share basis?" he said. "Why shouldn't it just be funded by the rec commission? Why shouldn't they be first?"
He said those using the fields would not just be residents of Baldwin, and it would make more sense to have the funding come from the BCRC, which supports the entire Baldwin area community.
Mayor Ken Hayes said he agreed.
"Junior (Brecheisen) is absolutely right," he said. "That would be the easiest way to do this."
Following the council meeting, Cleavinger said the BCRC technically can't spearhead the ball field project because of state guidelines.
"It's not a function of the rec department," she said. "They can step in and manage it once it's there, but they can't own or develop real estate."
She said the recreation commission would be involved in the planning, but the responsibility of the project lies with the city and even more so, the school district.
"The school district will have to take the lead on it because they own the land," she said.
City Administrator Jeff Dingman met with Supt. James White Wednesday for a preliminary discussion on the new fields. Talks are expected to continue.