by Dan Holland
Plans are in the works for the Nordonia Hills Athletic Association to upgrade the infield at Peters Field (Field No. 4) at Sagamore Hills Park, according to NHAA President Jim Filisky, who presented the plan to the Sagamore Hills Township Trustees at their May 9 meeting. The improvements may also be applied to Veterans Field at a later date.
“We had the fields surveyed and evaluated with soil testing to try to get the best mix for proper drainage,” Filisky explained. “Our plan is to go ahead and cut the collar on Field No. 4 and also laser level it with a regular ball mix – which is a diamond clay – and then bring in a field mix conditioner so that it’s more like a high school field with a reddish hue to it. That will allow for better drainage rather than pooling of water.”
The NHAA will fund the improvements, which are expected to cost between $8,000 and $11,000. Last year, the group spread around 60 tons of diamond clay on the infields at the park, which covers five ballfields.
Filisky said the improvements will provide better availability of the field, especially for tournaments. He is hopeful to have the work done in time for the NHAA Fall Ball program, which begins in mid-August.
“If you go to some of these communities where they have these crushed brick infields, you could have a torrential downpour an hour before a game, and a lot of times, they’re still playable,” he said. “By doing this, it makes the park more attractive not only for us and our use, but also as a potential revenue aspect for Sagamore Hills if any groups contact them to lease out the park for a tournament.”
Sagamore Hills Trustee David DePasquale said a “gentleman’s agreement” is in place with NHAA for the association to maintain and improve the fields and in exchange, the township doesn’t charge the group for field usage, with the exception of its yearly tournament. He added that discussions with the association are ongoing, with project approval pending proof of proper insurance coverage by the selected contractor.
“We have an agreement we made with them to groom the fields, but when they’re using outside help, they have to be insured, which is no different than any other vendor who we would hire to do work on a building or any other facility,” said DePasquale.
Filisky said during the May meeting that B. James Landscaping currently maintains the fields and has been for the past three years, but as of July 25, NHAA had not officially named a specific contractor for the field improvement work.
“Overall, the partnership has worked out well,” added DePasquale. “I don’t think anyone in the township has complaints, and I think NHAA is happy with it, as they have a free creative license to manicure the fields the way they see fit; whatever works best for their level of play.”
“I grew up here, and I played ball on the same fields that I now manage for the community,” said Filisky. “It’s nice to have someone who grew up here and has had this long-term vision to be able to put it in play now with the guidance of the board, everyone’s input, and working together as a community group.” ∞