Licking County News

Pataskala City Council

Neighbors oppose lighted fields in Foundation Park

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Three people told Pataskala City Council Nov. 19 that the new baseball fields at Thomas J. Evans Foundation Park, 10255 McIntosh Road, should not be lighted.

"This is not what our neighbors want," said Gloria Coakley, who lives on nearby Broadview Court.

Coakley said a real-estate agent said the lighted fields could lower her property values and an insurance agent said the fields could raise her insurance rates if claims for damages are filed.

The Central Ohio Clippers, a youth baseball league, have permission from Pataskala City Council to build two fields between John Reese Parkway and Broadview Court in Foundation Park.

City Council on Nov. 5 first heard an amendment to light the fields. Council members tabled the item and asked the city's parks and recreation advisory committee to provide more information.

Council on Nov. 19 voted to take the item off the table but then tabled it again, pending further review, at council member Merissa McKinstry's request.

Debbie Cannon of Broadview Court said Foundation Park already has lighted fields.

"It's amazing how bright it is when the lights are lit," she said.

Cannon said the fields that would be built "across the street" would add a lot of light.

Nathan Riggle of Broadview Court asked if the fields could be moved farther north to alleviate the concerns of residents.

Coakley said although the city conducted a survey about the lighted fields, she and many of her neighbors were never asked their opinions.

Joe Gernert, a member of the parks and recreation advisory board, said board members hand-delivered surveys to residents in September and requested the surveys be completed and returned in a short time frame. He said the board may not have been able to reach all area residents.

Councilman Mike Fox said it is not appropriate for children to play baseball until 10 p.m. on school nights. He asked if there is enough parking for four teams to be playing at once and four teams coming in for a second game on the fields.

Councilman Mike Compton said the city does not approve the development of ball fields without making sure there is enough parking for spectators.

Steve Kenney, a member of the Central Ohio Clippers executive board, said the youth league spent $14,000 to rebuild the Pataskala Municipal Park baseball field. The two fields in Foundation Park could cost the league $50,000 to $75,000, he said.

Kenney said the lights would not be used every night, but only if there were the need to play late or in a weekend tournament. He said much of the new lighting is directional and can't be seen 100 feet away from the fields.

Coakley said her home is 40 feet from where the fields would be built.

Kenney said the baseball league doesn't want neighbors to be upset and was making plans based on information provided to the league by the city.

The Central Ohio Clippers had hoped to have fields ready in the spring of 2013. Kenney said the league has expanded from 10 to 170 participants in three years.

In other business Nov. 19, City Council:

* Voted 4-3 to approve an amended ordinance allowing City Administrator Tim Boland to advertise for bids and to enter into contracts for 2013 utility projects. Councilman Bryan Lenzo suggested the amendment, which added a provision for the bids and contracts.

Lenzo, Pat Sagar, Merissa McKinstry and Dan Hayes voted in favor of the amendment with Compton, Fox and Bernard Brush dissenting. The same four voted to approve the ordinance on third reading with the same three council members dissenting.

* Tabled an ordinance to advertise for bids and allow Boland to enter into contracts for 2013 road improvements. Brush made a motion to remove wording "to allow the administrator to enter into a contract," which was supported by Compton and Fox but failed because Lenzo, Sagar, McKinstry and Hayes opposed the motion.

Compton said he was disappointed with the 2012 road projects, specifically improvements to Havens Corners Road. He said he has lost confidence in the city's engineering firm, EMH&T of Columbus, and questioned why the berm on the east side of the road has not been fixed six weeks after he complained about it.

Boland said when the city learned the grass berms were not going to work on the east side of Havens Corner Road, he approached the project engineer and requested the berms be built with aggregate material, similar to what was done on the opposite side of the road. He said he does not want the city to pay for an upgrade if the installation of aggregate material costs more.

Boland said he expects new berms to be installed on the east side of the road this week.

McKinstry suggested City Council table the ordinance pending a rewrite.

Road projects planned for 2013 include improvements to: Broad Street, a state project for which the city is responsible for 20 percent of funding of $500,000; Mill Street from Broad Street to Columbia Road; Court Road; Hollow Road from Alward to Headleys Mill roads; Third Avenue from North End Drive to First Avenue; and Veasey, Robin, Hickory and Adams lanes in the Brightwaters subdivision.

* Requested changes to the city's 2013 budget, increasing the distribution of income-tax revenue for the capital-improvements and debt-service funds. Brush said both funds should each include 10 to 15 percent of income-tax revenue. Fox reiterated his concerns about large carryovers of up to 50 percent in different department budgets.

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