Rec association requests funding for field conditioning process

by Chris Studor

Oct. 4 township trustees meeting

With 700 children playing 600 summer baseball games through the Recreational Association of Highland, a rainy day can mean numerous game delays which negatively impacts a dozens of ball players, their coaches and families.

As part of the Oct. 4 trustees meeting, Nicole Grambo, director of the RAH softball program and temporary manager of fields and facilities, approached trustees with a request to help fund a field conditioning process designed to restore a baseball field in 30 minutes after a heavy rain.

Currently, she said, it takes two to three days to dry out a field.

“Last year RAH renovated all five fields,” Grambo said. “During this process it was determined that the soil content has heavy silt content. I contacted eight companies and I only received two phone calls back which is the nature of the beast in the construction world right now. RAH cannot absorb both the $27,000 in labor costs and $23,804 in materials. I am asking if the township could possibly pay the labor costs.”

While trusteees agreed the township could contribute in some manner, the board said the township could not fund all $27,000 in labor costs.

“That’s a big ask,” said Trustee Jack Swedyk. “The township has spent a substantial amount of money already with the ball fields, such as new lighting, in the past few years. I think there’s going to need to be some buy-in from the users and then we can look at what the township can contribute to the project.”

Trustee Monique Ascherl, who said her son participates in the RAH program, said she would like to see the costs spread out over the three townships that utilize the fields.

Hinckley Township has five baseball fields and Sharon and Granger townships have one each.

“Maybe you can reach out to all the RAH families and maybe they could donate $25 a player, or someone else may be able to write you a check for $100,” said Ascherl. “RAH could then come back to the township and say this is what RAH was able to raise and then the township would look at what we could allocate. I give you credit for coming.”

Trustee Melissa Augustine said the township “has already gone above and beyond the contract RAH has with the township.” She also requested to see RAH’s ledger and Grambo agreed.

“For me it’s all about exploring options within the existing contract,” said Augustine. “Maybe we can’t do all the fields at once but maybe do one or two a season.”

In other business at the trustee meeting:

  • Trustees approved the hiring of firefighter/EMT Brandon Ciresi for a probationary period of one year.
  • Trustees approved hiring Lydia Wochna (retired Hinckley Fire Education specialist) as an independent contractor at a rate of $18.25 per hour for no more than 15 hours per month for fire education in the school district.
  • Police Chief Dave Centner said the township has received two letters from Cleveland Metroparks thanking Hinckley police for their assistance with recent park emergencies. ∞