Village putting safety first at ball park

By Joshua Keeran - [email protected]

WOODSTOCK – Village Council on Monday addressed maintenance and safety issues at Woodstock Ball Park, while taking steps toward cleaning up nuisance lawns.

Village Administrator Bradley Herron said while he and village maintenance worker Ron Moore were doing spring cleaning at the village-owned ball park on Burnwell Street, they discovered two trees in need of attention – a dead ash tree and a sugar maple tree with a hole right through the center of it.

Herron informed council he had the ash tree removed by Del-Mar Tree Service Inc., Middleburg, which offered to remove the sugar maple tree pending council’s approval.

“I recommend we spend the money to take the tree down,” Herron said.

Council member Beatrice Metz added, “I think it should come down. That way we are getting ahead of ourselves before it does fall down.”

Following discussion on the matter, council passed a motion agreeing to pay Del-Mar Tree Service $4,000 for the removal of the sugar maple tree as well as for the costs already incurred with the removal of the ash tree.

To help recoup some of the costs, the village will be selling the wood from each tree.

Instead of choosing who gets the wood, Herron said, individuals interested in purchasing the approximately cord and a half of ash tree wood will have two weeks to submit a sealed bid to the village. Once the highest bidder is contacted, he or she will have two weeks to pay for and remove the wood from the ball park.

The wood from the sugar maple tree will be made available to the highest bidder in the same fashion as the ash tree wood as soon as the tree is taken down.

“I don’t anticipate getting a lot of money out of this firewood,” Herron said. “I just want to make it fair.”

Playground equipment

In a follow-up to last month’s discussion over the village-owned swing set sitting unused at the ball park, Herron informed council he is working on getting an estimate for anchoring it down with concrete. He added along with approving the expenditure, council must also decide where to place the swing set.

“The biggest request (from parents) is that the swing set be close to the ball field so that while they are watching the ball field, they can also watch their kids while they are playing on the swing set,” Herron said.

Making this request a reality, however, is not only a safety matter, but could also result in additional costs for the village.

As for placing the swing set on either side of the baseball diamond, Herron said, in his opinion there isn’t enough room to place it far enough away from the foul lines to ensure no one is struck by a foul ball while playing on the swing set.

Herron noted there is a possibility the swing set could be placed directly behind home plate between the restroom facility and concession stand, but netting would likely need to be installed behind home plate to protect children from foul balls.

While no decision was made as to where the swing set would be anchored down, Mayor Jackie Hayes said, it may have to be located well beyond the outfield fence near where it currently sits unused.

Weed control

To move forward with the abatement of properties in violation of Ohio Basic Code 93.40 concerning noxious weeds and rank vegetation, council passed a motion authorizing Hayes to send letters to property owners not in compliance.

An ordinance states properties must be kept clear of noxious weeds, rank vegetation and grass in excess of 12 inches high, and all properties within the municipality must be mowed at least twice a year – once between June 1 and July 1 and once between Aug. 1 and Sept. 1.

Upon written notification, property owners who don’t comply with the village’s order to abate the nuisance by July 1 will have their property mowed by the village, with costs assessed to their property taxes.

In other business:

•The village acquired a display case that will be kept in the municipal building to house items relating to Woodstock’s history.

“I know there are people around Woodstock and people who used to live in Woodstock who wanted to donate things, but we just didn’t have any place for them,” said Hayes, adding the village is now gladly accepting historical items for the new display case.

•Council authorized Herron to hire a contractor to paint the exterior of the municipal building.

“It needs to be done to protect the masonry,” said Herron, adding North Lewisburg artist Pat Bollack-Brown can’t proceed with the painting a mural of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train on the north wall of the building until a base coat is applied.

By Joshua Keeran

[email protected]

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.