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Village Vision News

Trustees OK lease agreement with schools for ball diamonds

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Village of Forsyth Board of Trustees approved a measure allowing a lease agreement between the village and the Maroa-Forsyth Community Unit School District No. 2, whereby three of the village’s ball diamonds will be used by the school’s baseball and softball teams.

The lease, which was approved by the board at the July 1 meeting, runs for five years (July 15, 2013, through July 15, 2018) and affects Diamonds 1, 4 and 5. The agreement is contingent upon a handful of renovations that must be completed by the village by Oct. 1, 2013. The school district will pay $10,500 per year in the agreement.

Village Administrator Mike Miller called the village’s park one of the community’s great attractions.

“We need to concentrate on our strengths, and that main park is a big reason people come here,” Miller said. “We have an asset that sits unused sometimes. As a former finance guy, you don’t have your assets sitting unused.”

The scheduling between school and village events will have to be worked out, but the school will have priority as part of the agreement on Diamonds 4 and 5 from March 1 through June 10 and on Diamond 1 from Aug. 1 through Oct. 5. Miller said the school’s events often fall during the week and its schedule is planned well in advance, both of which should help avoid conflicts.

Trustee Bob Rasho asked if the $10,500 the village will be paid is an adequate amount given that the agreement will save the school district something in the neighborhood of “$2 million to $3 million” by not building its own field.

Rasho also expressed concern that on an issue of such importance he felt he wasn’t given enough lead time by Miller to form his opinion and do the necessary research on the topic. Rasho also made the point that there are other school districts that fall within the village’s boundaries.

Miller said it wasn’t the first time trustees had heard of the proposal and that maintaining and upgrading community facilities is part of the village’s comprehensive plan.

Trustee Steve Hubbard suggested it would be appropriate that Sean Martin, head baseball coach at Maroa-Forsyth High School, be removed from his baseball diamond maintenance duties. Hubbard doesn’t support the idea that Martin works for the school district and gets compensated by the village for groundskeeper duties.

“Take Coach Martin off the payroll,” Hubbard said. “I get a ton of grief on that.”

Miller said he didn’t believe there was a conflict, and Larry Coloni, director of Public Works, agreed with Miller.

“We can track when Sean is working for us and prove he’s not working for the school (simultaneously),” Coloni said.

Looking to the future, Trustee Larry Reed asked Miller if he ever thought parking could become a problem with both the community and school sharing facilities.

Parking could potentially be an issue, Miller agreed, but he added that it would be a problem he’d like to have. One possible solution to parking, if it ever came to that, Miller said, would be to allow parking on Forsyth Parkway north from Weaver Road during well-attended events and have cars park on both sides of the parkway.

Hubbard made the motion, seconded by Reed. The motion was passed unanimously.

The board then voted separately and unanimously approved the motion to move forward with upgrades to Diamond 5; however, any expenditures must be approved by the board.

Field fix-up

The board also voted July 1 to approve work for Diamond No. 5. Requested upgrades include:

  • Outfield renovation to properly slope outfield with rest of field
  • Replace outfield fence, add hitting backdrop
  • Raise backstop behind home plate
  • Replace current scoreboard with larger model
  • Install water line to infield

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