Ball field equipment arrives
When future generations of school children use the baseball fields near the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, they probably won't think about the work that went into getting the equipment there. But for those who helped in the move, it was an experience they won't soon forget.
Moving the equipment, which included light poles, dugouts, backstops, fencing and scoreboards, from Overland Park created a host of logistical problems.
"It was a nightmare," said Steve Friend, the new director of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission, with a laugh.
The difficulties experienced during the move can be traced back to several sources.
First, it was difficult to predict exactly when the trucks would arrive, with some trucks coming in late in the evening. As a result, Baldwin City workers were called in to unload the equipment after they had gotten off work.
In addition, a lot of equipment took more loads to move than expected. While the movers had anticipated moving the four dugouts in one or two loads, it took four loads to move them. And, it took three loads to move the 10 light poles, also more than had been expected.
Finally, the site the equipment was moved from was undergoing construction, creating a host of obstacles for the workers to negotiate in loading the equipment onto the trucks.
As a result of all these difficulties, the equipment didn't arrive in Baldwin City as early as planned. The last load arrived on April 1, although Friend's agreement with Overland Park had the last piece of equipment being moved by March 28.
When Friend told Ken Wagner, city council member and owner of Heritage Tractor, about the deal, Wagner immediately volunteered his company's services in moving the equipment.
"Ken went above and beyond to see that everything got over here," Friend said.
Friend announced his purchase of the baseball equipment at the March 24 city council meeting. He bought the equipment from eBay with a bid of $23,300. The equipment was valued at $300,000, with the lighting equipment alone worth between $130,000 and $160,000 per field.
When Friend saw the opportunity for such a great deal, he knew he would have to pounce on it, despite any difficulties that might arrive in moving it here.
"We knew it would be a hassle, but the price was the clincher," Friend said. "The deal was just too great to pass up."
Besides thanking Wagner for his huge amount of help, Friend also had two other people who stepped to the plate and deserve thanks. George McCrary, who is on the commission board, donated a trailer and the manpower to move all the light fixtures. Also of note was all of the public works department personnel who helped unload the trailers, especially Chris Croucher.