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06-02-04 Council does not want to play ball over park’s costs

By Timothy Cox

  ROCKFORD -- Some village officials are digging in their heels against sharing the cost of the latest proposed improvement at Shane's Park.

  The town's park board and its recreation association have agreed to share in the cost of adding a combination of chain-link and net extensions to existing fences at the two main ball diamonds at the park. But the groups want the village to pay one-third of the costs; a similar arrangement was struck for a prior backstop extension.
  Costs are estimated at $5,700, recreation association member Todd Henkle told council members at the regular meeting Tuesday night. Park board members already have voted to share one-third of the cost of the project up to $2,000. Recreation association members also agree with the plan, Henkle said.
  Some council members agreed with the need for the fence upgrade to keep foul balls from shooting toward people walking near the diamond, but some also scoffed at the notion that the town should foot the bill.
  "My contention is the park board can pay the $5,700," council member Keith Rutledge said. "We've got a park board sitting on a pile of money and our finances aren't so good."  "They're not sitting on a whole lot," Clerk-Treasurer Amy Lyons said. "I see their funds going down and down."
  Council member Greg Pontsler noted the success of the community building at the park. It is regularly rented for private parties and that revenue goes to the park board.
  "Somebody's making some money somewhere," Pontsler said.
  Council member Randy Gutierrez also agreed the park board should pay for the backstop extensions if they want the work done.
  Council member Amy Joseph disagreed, noting the park is village property that can be improved by the village. Joseph also criticized council's decision to table the issue, noting the summer ball season would be mostly over before council decides whether to help the park board.


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