Pitching Baseball Field Construction

Making a pitch for a baseball field before Plattsmouth Board of Education, proponents say they have sizable financial or in-kind work pledges of community and business leaders. The board tabled a decision on the allocation of already-banked bond money towards the project for the time being.

The ball diamond is proposed for the southwest section of a 7-acre tract the district acquired in 2010. That property is directly to the south of the district’s PACE Complex. (The PACE Complex is the former John Deere dealership building and grounds the district also purchased in 2010.) (archives 5/12/10 & 12/14/2010)

In late 2010, on a 6-to-3 vote, the board approved the purchase of the 7 acres with Build America Bonds. Of the $485,000 in bonds issued at the time, $365,000 was earmarked for land acquisition and baseball field construction. The land was purchased for $245,000.

On this week’s board of education agenda, the only action item dealing with the baseball field issue read: “Discuss, consider, and take all action to approve the use of the remaining Build America Bonds (approximately $135,000) for construction of a baseball field.” The motion to defer to a future meeting passed 5 to 3.

In making the motion, board member Ken Winters said this will give the district time to clarify how long it has to spend the bond money, but didn’t want this “in any way, shape or form to slow the down the progress being made by the parents, businesses and people of the community toward raising funds for a new baseball field.”

Board President Bob Priebe said this will also give the district time to see “if the fundraising gets to the point where (the new field) can proceed without the $135,000.”

Board member Matt Glup was among those voting against the motion. He said he was ready to vote on using the bond money because he was worried about the project getting delayed. “I know there are some people against it, but I think there are a lot more for it.”

Comments from board members Karen Parsons and Mike Brodersen brought up the fact the board has not yet voted on allowing that land to be used for a baseball field. Winters said it was only a week before that the board’s operations committee decided on the 7-acre tract as the best location and the committee is still in the process of visually overlaying a field into the site.

During the work session before the regular meeting, Parsons and Brodersen indicated they had concerns about the district’s potential costs and had heard from district patrons who are not in favor of the new field.

Board members and members of the public speaking at the workshop in favor of a new field said it will be a key factor in attracting and retaining students and their families, and that helps the community’s overall economic development.

Plattsmouth first fielded a school baseball team in 2011 and begins its first varsity season this week. As they did last year, the city and the school district have agreed to a memorandum of understanding for the school team to use the upper field at Memorial Park this spring.

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