Licking County News

Local park

Foundation has final say on new baseball fields

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Despite continued objections by neighbors, Pataskala City Council on April 1 approved plans for two new baseball fields in Thomas J. Evans Foundation Park.

The city leases the park from the Thomas J. Evans Foundation, which must approve any plans for development. The legislation approved April 1 will be forwarded to the foundation.

At the meeting, Debbie Cannon and Gloria Coakley, both of Broadview Court, reiterated their objections to fields being built east of Bent Tree Lane.

Cannon said the new fields would cause more traffic in an already congested area and Coakley said the city has not fully considered petitions or neighbors' suggestions on other field locations.

City Council approved legislation in August authorizing the construction of two fields with financial support of the Central Ohio Clippers, a youth baseball league that spent $14,000 to rebuild the Pataskala Municipal Park baseball field.

After residents complained about the fields' location and potential lighting in November, City Council members asked the parks and recreation advisory board to review the proposal again.

The parks board's recommendation was to move the fields west, with one on the east side of Bent Tree Lane and the other on the northwest side of Bent Tree. The closest field would be 100 feet from the backyards of Broadview Court and lights were removed from the proposal.

A 130-space parking lot and concession stand were removed from the legislation April 1 in a 6-1 vote, with Bryan Lenzo dissenting. Lenzo said he did not want to approve field construction without parking.

City Council member Mike Fox said the city needs to complete a traffic study of the area and he recommended a committee meet with residents and address their concerns. City Council member Mike Compton said he would agree to a meeting if all of the people who signed petitions could attend since council has not heard from all of them publicly.

Fox asked that the legislation be tabled to schedule a meeting with residents but it died in a 4-3 vote with Bernard Brush, Dan Hayes, Pat Sagar and Lenzo voting against it. Compton, Fox and Merissa McKinstry supported it.

Compton said the parks board did consider the neighbor's concerns. He also said that neighbors should consider that the land always has been a park.

"You don't own the land and it is a park," Compton said.

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