By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board’s parks committee is recommending that the village pay for electricity and pit pumping at Tom Prince Memorial Park.
The parks committee met with Jeff Prince, president of the Colfax Softball Association, January 20 to discuss the village’s agreement with CSA for expenses at the ballpark.
Currently, the softball association pays for half of the expenses, including electricity, pit pumping, lime, fertilizer, fuel, and light bulbs.
Prince said he was asking the village to cover the entire cost of electricity at the ballpark so the softball association could save money to put toward improvements.
The softball association’s share of the expenses amounts to around $1,000 to $1,300 each year.
If the village pays for all of the electricity at the ballpark, it would amount to about $700 per year, noted Annie Schieber, village trustee and chair of the parks committee.
“Would that help?” she asked.
“Anything helps,” Prince replied.
Schieber noted that Tom Prince Memorial Park is a village park and that other municipalities in the area, such as Glenwood City, Menomonie, Bloomer, Chetek and Boyceville, pay the entire cost of expenses for their ballparks.
Many groups use the ballpark besides the Colfax Softball Association, including 4-H groups, Little League and families, she said.
Village trustee Mark Halpin wondered if the Colfax Softball Association had developed a long-range plan for improvements at the ballpark.
The softball association had a plan for improvements at the time the second ball field was put in, Prince said.
The plans included a berm, a volleyball court, playground equipment and a walking trail along the river, he said.
This spring, the softball association, with the help of 4-H groups providing labor, will be putting in new bleachers at the ballpark, Prince said.
The softball association also would like to build a storage shed with a crow’s nest scorer’s booth so that the four-wheeler and utility trailer could be stored in the shed, he said.
Halpin noted that while he does not play softball, he is always glad to see that the park is being used.
Schieber wondered if the softball association has plans to install lights on the second field.
Lights would be a great project to complete, but they would be expensive, Prince said.
Prince said he had been hoping when the new field was built, that the village board would have started budgeting money to be set aside for lights.
No money was ever put aside for lights, so the project would have no funding, he said.
The softball association also has poured concrete in the dugouts on both fields and would like to take down the fences in the dugouts and build a wall instead, Prince said.
Richard Johnson, village trustee, said that as a village board member, he would like to see the softball association develop a long-range plan so that CSA and the parks committee could work together on improvements.
If a formal long-range plan were in place, then it would not matter who was serving as officers in the softball association. The softball association and the parks committee could work together on the plans, no matter who was serving on either the parks committee or on the softball association, Johnson said.
Johnson also wondered why 4-H groups would be providing some of the labor for replacing the bleachers this spring.
4-H groups use the softball field, but the softball association does not charge them anything, Prince said.
The parks committee unanimously approved a motion recommending to the Colfax Village Board that the village pay for all of the electricity and the pit pumping at Tom Prince Memorial Park.
The Colfax Softball Association will still pay half of other expenses, including the lime, fertilizer, fuel for the four-wheeler, repairs on the four-wheeler, field maintenance, and light bulb replacement.
The parks committee also must meet with the softball association to approve a contract for the 2014 softball season, Schieber said.
Softball starts the first week in May, and the softball association will meet in the middle of March, Prince said.
The softball association could meet with the parks committee in April, he suggested.
Halpin encouraged the softball association to work on a long-range plan.
If the softball association formulates a long-range plan for the ballpark, that will help provide continuity for the parks committee so the ball field can be accessible to everyone, he said.