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Parks board seeks to upgrade old ballfield

The baseball diamonds at this athletic field near the city pool have seen better days. The Shelbyville Parks andRecreation Department wants to make improvements and hold softball games for young kids at the facility.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

An athletic field near the city pool will be put back into service – if the city approves.

The Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department wants to use the property for youth softball, said Director Karen Martin.

“We’d use it for 6-and-under and 8-and-under,” she said.

In the short term, two existing softball diamonds need to be upgraded; the parks department would like to put two additional diamonds into the 4-acre site.

The J. Kenneth Self Shelbyville Boys Club owns the athletic field which is located on Hoover Avenue between South West and South Meridian Streets, but it hasn’t been used for games much in recent years.

Martin said the Boys Club had no problem with them using the site, but she was unsure what it would cost to get the two diamonds back into playing condition and add the new ones.

“We’re getting quotes,” she told her board which met late Wednesday afternoon.

Parks board member member Mike Babbitt asked how the cost would be paid, and Martin replied she spoke with Shelby County Tourism and Mayor Tom DeBaun.

She said she expected to have price estimates for the board at its next meeting on March 28 and, if approved, the mayor would take them to the Shelbyville Common Council for funding consideration.

In other matters, Martin presented the Parks Board with an estimate from Duke Energy to replace the lights in all the city parks with energy-efficient LED lighting.

Going to the LED lighting would save nearly $24,300 per year, according to estimates.

The total cost would be $58,301 but there is a rebate program that would lower that number to $42,739, Martin said, and that’s for a “light for light” replacement. Some may not need to be replaced which would lower the cost, she added.

Martin had no cost estimate yet to install the LED lights; the parks board took no action on the issue.

In other matters, the parks board:

n Approved allowing local Girl Scout Troop 763 to use the bike-pedestrian trail in Blue River Memorial Park for a fundraising event in July to support installing video security cameras along the trail;

n Is due to review the parks department 5-year master plan at the next board meeting;

n Got an update on repairs to the Meridian Street Aquatic Center which are underway. The City Council approved using $90,000 in the pool replacement fund to cover the cost;

n Heard that the new 20-page guide book to park facilities and events will soon be mailed to community residents.