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$1.1 Million From Capital Projects Fund Allocated For Baseball Diamonds



When it was stated that all of the money to construct the second set of Memorial Park baseball diamonds would come from Archbold Park Board funds only, that wasn’t quite accurate.

In fact, Archbold Village Council has allocated a total of $1.1 million over five years from the village capital projects fund, also known as Fund 401, toward diamond construction.

At the Monday, April 1 meeting of the Archbold Village Council, council approved seeking bids for a second new diamond in Memorial Park at an estimated price of $188,000.

Brad Short, councilman, said he was getting “anxiety” over spending that much on a baseball diamond when the village faces infrastructure needs.

Kevin Morton, council president and member of the park board, said money for the diamond was coming only from park board revenue.

In a later interview, Donna Dettling, village administrator, said that “didn’t sound quite right” to her, so she researched the issue.

2015

In a report to council, Dettling said a council work session on capital planning was held Nov. 16, 2015.

At that meeting, a second baseball diamond complex was discussed.

Dettling quoted the meeting minutes as saying Dennis Howell, then-village administrator, asked if council “would be willing to help the park board pay for the new diamonds.”

The minutes say Jeff Fryman, then a councilman, “thinks that council should help the park board with getting the infrastructure (for the diamond complex– water, wastewater, storm drainage, etc.) in.

“Kevin Morton said his approach all along was for Park Board to do this alone.”

Dettling, who was then-assistant village administrator, asked if there was “negativity” to having Fund 401 pay for the diamonds.

“Jeff said some people feel that the parks have been built too big and too fast and cost the taxpayers more money.”

2016

Council held another work session for capital planning on Aug. 29, 2016. Again, the new ball diamond complex was discussed.

At that time, Bob Seaman, village engineer, gave the estimated price for the project as $1.1 million, which did not include dugouts, fencing, drainage, or bleachers.

The minutes of that meeting say Fryman said council would not have to budget the entire diamond complex in 2017, “but maybe budget $250,000 for 2017 to get the project started.”

Dettling said in her report, a copy of the five-year capital project plan worksheet, dated Aug. 29, 2016, “shows the Memorial Park ball diamond project slated for 2017, with an estimated cost of $1.1 million.”

2017

In March 2017, council agreed to purchase 9.5 acres at the southwest corner of Memorial Park to add additional space for the new fourdiamond complex.

The first of five payments was issued in May of that year, with money from Park Board. Total cost of the additional property was $90,250.

Another capital project work session was held on Sept. 18, 2017. Minutes from that meeting say the group “recommended annual commitment as necessary through completion” of the ball diamond project.

The Sept. 18, 2017, worksheet allocated $250,000 each year for four years, 2017-2020, plus an additional $100,000 in 2021.

Dettling said final design and bidding occurred in 2017, but there were no diamond expenses then.

2018

Dettling said 2018 was the first year money was appropriated for the diamond project.

In her report, Dettling said a total of $421,218.94 was spent on the first baseball diamond plus associated infrastructure in 2018.

Dettling added Jennifer Kidder, Parks & Recreation Department director, “was able to secure a $200,000 donation for the ball diamond project in 2018” from an anonymous donor.

Park Board allocated $171.218.94.

Add the $250,000 from the village capital fund, and that equals the total amount spent.

At the Sept. 10, 2018, capital planning work session, the meeting minutes called for the construction of “one or more additional ball diamonds in 2019.”

This Year

This year, $200,000 was allocated from Fund 401 for the second baseball dia- mond. The estimated cost is $188,000.

Dettling said another $65,000 was appropriated in the Park Board capital fund, Fund 204, for the ball diamond.

Additionally, $24,000 was allocated from park board funds for design of the concession stand, dugouts, and restrooms.

Dettling concluded her report by saying, “Funding for the ball diamond project will continue in Fund 401 over the next several years until a total of $1.1 million is expended.”

Original Question

In an interview following the Monday, April 15 council meeting, Morton and Bentz each said they didn’t remember the $250,000 from the village capital projects fund council had previously committed to the baseball diamonds.

Morton said council should revisit Short’s question about funding priorities, adding council could decide not to allocate additional money from Fund 401 to the diamonds.

Dettling confirmed council has that option.