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Village Vision News

Trustees reverse fields on press boxes at Forsyth Park

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In the last couple of months, local developer Jeff Horve has donated a lot of his time and expertise toward the possibility of the Village of Forsyth adding two press boxes to Diamond Nos. 4 and 5 at Forsyth Park. Horve had plans drawn up, came to a couple of board meetings and tried to shepherd the project through the process. It looked like all his efforts were for naught when the project fell short of approval at the October 3 meeting. But on the October 17 agenda, under old business, the item was back. This time things turned out differently.

Trustee Steve Hubbard, who had cast the deciding vote against the project (Trustees Larry Reed and Bob Gruenewald also voted No), had left open the possibility of taking up the topic again. Hubbard said he appreciated having had a meeting with Village Administrator David Strohl, Director of Public Works Larry Coloni and Trustee Jim Peck to address his concerns about usage of the fields. Before the last vote, he said he didn’t think the project would inspire more use of the fields.

“We will work on developing a scheduling mechanism for the use of the fields,” Strohl told trustees, referring to what came out of the meeting.

Trustee Larry Reed said he didn’t like the cost, and said he wished the Village had a partner to help pay for it.

“I think we’re spending too much money on this,” Reed said, a concern that was acknowledged by Hubbard.

“I think Trustee Reed thinks we’re spending money that will primarily benefit the high school,” Hubbard said. “His point is well taken.”

Since the diamonds are home to the softball and baseball teams at Maroa-Forsyth High School, Athletic Director and softball coach Phil Applebee and baseball coach Sean Martin were consulted about how they’d like to use the buildings.

The motion was made by Peck, with a stipulation that each building not exceed $58,000 to build, and the second came from Trustee David Wendt. All votes were Yea; the measure carried.

According to Village Attorney Jeff Jurgens the project appropriately qualifies for hotel/motel tax funds, since adding two press boxes will be marketed to attract more teams to town for tournaments.

Decisions will need to be made on choices of stone for the buildings’ exteriors and for colors. Those decisions will be handled by Trustees Peck and Bob Gruenewald. Gruenewald said he would like to see the size of the building on Diamond No. 4 shrunk a little since it will be closer to homes. Horve asked that all design-related decisions be complete by December 1 in order for him to be able to hit the March 1 completion deadline.

Horve cautioned that Mother Nature will play a role in any winter project in Central Illinois.

“It’s an aggressive schedule given the time of year, but again, I’ll work diligently,” Horve said.

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