The need for attention to Kyle Park athletic fields did not appear to be in dispute during a Tipp City Council work session attended by local youth soccer representatives Sept. 21.
What will happen next remains to be determined, but council President Joe Gibson said the discussion was “a step in the right direction.”
Concerns about soccer field conditions have been aired previously with the city Parks Advisory Board. Last fall, a Youth Soccer representative, said around 1,000 youth participate in the soccer programs each year. He said players who have fallen after tripping in holes have experienced several broken bones. He said the organization was willing to work with the city on improvements.
Among needs outlined last fall and Sept. 21 were the holes along with lack of water to maintain grass, fertilization and spraying for bugs.
Gibson sought the council discussion.
In an August memo he said that after meeting with stakeholders and other interested parties he believed issues raised about parks, Kyle in particular, and their fields warranted attention. The fields mentioned went beyond soccer to baseball and peewee football.
“In looking at recent budgets it appears that it has been some time that a thorough evaluation of our fields at Kyle Park has taken place, and additional funds for such purposes might need to be appropriated,” Gibson wrote to council.
Council heard comments and discussed the fields extensively during the Sept. 21 session.
Among unanswered questions were what all work needs to be done, when it would be done and who would pay.
Todd Niswonger said the organizations are willing to pitch in where they can. The organizations work with the city parks department on providing materials and volunteering time to help care for fields.
“We are willing to partner with the city, we know it is not free and we know that patching holes is not getting it done,” Niwwonger said. “The largest thing the park board feels is our downfall is the lack of water. All of us probably know that irrigation is probably a far-fetched thing for Kyle Park.”
The need for a comprehensive plan of what needs to be done and the associated cost was mentioned several times in the discussion.
City Manager Tim Eggleston said the first thing he would do is have city staff look at the issue of water for fields and what options would be available.
“I look forward with working with interested parties - council, park board, junior baseball, others - on how we should handle this, the steps to be taken,” Gibson said.
During the discussion, council members asked where the line would be drawn of what party would pay for what work. Councilman John Kessler also cautioned that spraying and other changes to fields could be questioned by environmental and flood plain regulators.
Budget-wise, Eggleston said much of the spending, if done by the city, would come out of the operating budgets, not the capital budget. The capital budget, for longer-term projects, might be used for initial work, with ongoing costs coming through the operating budget, he said.
Gibson also stated in the August memo that issues from other parks include spraying, condition of play areas and updating play areas/removing old or problem structures Those topics were not discussed at the Sept. 21 work session.