Mercer park board chief makes pitch for new baseball field

November 19, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Disagreement among board members about the next project at Anderson-Dean Community Park came to light Tuesday at the board's monthly meeting.

Board President Bill Wickliffe said he had conferred with Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler and Harrodsburg Mayor Lonnie Campbell and both men said they want to see the park grow.

Wickliffe's plan is to build a new high school baseball field to be used for tournaments and to give the Mercer County school district some help in meeting Title IX requirements. Wickliffe said, and Mercer County Superintendent Bruce Johnson concurred, that the district needs a place for girls' softball games.

Wickliffe said he also has spoken with Harrodsburg school Superintendent H.M. Snodgrass and Burgin Superintendent Richard Webb. Webb said he would get back with him, and Snodgrass said the city schools have no additional needs for the park.


Wickliffe said if the park had a second high school boys' baseball field, the one at the school could be converted to a girls' softball field. Title IX requires public schools to provide equal athletic opportunities for male and female students.

A second high school field would help the Mercer County schools and also provide a place for more high school tournaments. There could be between six and eight a year, Wickliffe said. Those tournaments not only would bring revenue to the park through rental of the facilities but also bring revenue to motels and restaurants in Harrodsburg and Mercer County.

Wickliffe said the park also needs a second high school soccer field. He thinks the board needs to hire an architect to plan for the needs of the park.

Board member Truman Bartleson suggested the board look at its most recent priority list of development of the park and possibly update that.

Board member Jamie Spivey said helping the schools might not go down well with some of the county's taxpayers. "People could say this is a community park, not a school park," she said. She said the board should seek public opinion about the needs of the park.

Trisler said he sees the park as a tremendous asset and would like to see the board plan for its growth.

Wickliffe said an architect could recommend where to put facilities, but Trisler seemed to disagree. "We need a committee to outline what we want to ask an architect to do," Trisler said.

With that, Wickliffe appointed board members Kathi Hudson, Spivey, Bartleson and himself to a committee. Asked if some of the public would be on the committee, Wickliffe said that is one of the things the committee would consider.

Bartleson said the board hasn't gotten community input. Hudson said the lake is not finished; Bartleson said the barn has not been renovated; and Spivey said the current soccer fields are not lighted.

"You can say we need a baseball field when it seems we need more shelter houses," Bartleson said, addressing Wickliffe. "Both of them are rented now."

Having both buildings occupied Tuesday at noon forced the board to meet in the senior citizens center on park grounds.

"We're in the kid business," Wickliffe told the board several times. "School systems are where the kids are. We didn't have schools in mind when we built the park."

The board and the committee adjourned without coming to an agreement on the future of the park.

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