EAST LIVERPOOL - Discussion continued Tuesday at the Thompson Park Board meeting about a recently built softball field at the park.
City schools Superintendent James Herring attended the meeting as a follow-up to a recent meeting of the school board's buildings and grounds committee that had been attended by park board President Burl Warrick and member Wink Smith.
Herring reported that the board's agenda Monday will include a recommendation regarding winterization of the field but said his "big concern" continues to be the dugouts, which have not yet been built.
A blueprint of proposed dugouts was presented by Smith, who said board members have learned that dugouts at a field in East End cost $6,000 each, saying, "We had no idea it cost so much," and saying the board hopes to find those willing to volunteer time and materials.
An estimate was not available at the meeting for the dugouts proposed for the softball field, nor has a decision been made on whether they will have concrete or dirt floors.
One decision that materialized since the school board committee meeting is not to put fence around them, which Warrick and Smith had indicated at that meeting might be done.
Smith said it was decided since then that, if fence were to be installed, people could climb up it onto the dugout roofs, which could be torn off. He said, "We make an extra effort with all our buildings to keep people off the roofs."
Smith said he liked the idea of the school board hanging tarps on three sides of the dugouts to shelter the players, but Herring said high winds could create a parachute effect.
Saying this decision "might be an issue," Herring said he would let the school board know the park board is now not looking at installation of fence.
Warrick suggested fencing could be installed five or 10 feet away from the dugouts which would still provide a buffer between the public and players but not allow anyone to climb on the roof.
Smith pointed out the park board has two other fencing issues pending that will cost about $1,400 and he would like to see those done first. He said tarps can be used around the dugouts initially and if a problem arises with parents interacting with players, fence can be installed.
"We want this to work. We'll make it work. But, we're running out of money," Smith told Herring.
The superintendent cautioned the board, "If it's not ready by March, I can't put the kids out there in the weather."
Smith said the plan is to have the dugouts, built of steel, not block, finished by the first of the year.
In a related matter, it was noted there are small rocks in the outfield that need cleaned up, and Herring said he will check to see if the landscaping class might be able to do it.