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Artificial Turf Pitched for Cahill Park Baseball Diamond

Friends of Bay Baseball hopes to raise $150,000 from donors to move forward with the $200,000 turf project, and is also requesting funds from the village and school district.

Whitefish Bay baseball's booster group is proposing to install artificial turf in the infield of Cahill Park's baseball diamond.

Friends of Bay Baseball hopes to raise $150,000 from donors toward the $200,000 turf project, and is requesting funds from the village and school district to help out with the project. The Whitefish Bay Village Board agreed to provide a requested $50,000 contribution Tuesday night, and now the group plans to go before the School Board.

Carl Fuda, the head of the Junior Dukes youth football program, made the request to the village. Fuda said artificial turf would reduce maintenance costs and make the field more durable for the wide variety of sports groups that use the field. Artificial turf would also allow sports teams to use the field even after it rains.

"Our fields are in disrepair," he said. "If we put field turf in, they will be able to run on them and they will see more use."

Not to mention the infield of the baseball diamond is also a common area for pesticide usage — a hotly contested subject in the village.

Trustees voted 5-1 to make a $50,000 pledge, with Trustee Richard Foster voting no and Trustee Jay Miller absent from the meeting. Foster said he prescribes to Dick Allen's famous quote, "If a cow can't eat it, I don't want to play on it."

Fuda said Friends of Bay Baseball plans to start fundraising on Oct. 1 and meet its goal by September 2013.

Storm water retention project

Meanwhile, an engineering consultant is working on in to reduce the amount of storm water hitting the streets of the flood-prone portion of the village.

The would lower the northern end of the grassy park area by eight to nine feet. Further to the south, between the baseball diamond and the playground equipment, the ground would be lowered two to three feet. The park would lose some level surface on the perimeter, allowing four feet of slope per each foot lost in elevation.

Rain water would be diverted away from the high school baseball diamond. The park's softball field, used by the junior varsity team, would no longer meet WIAA standards.

Tom Davies, speaking on behalf of roughly 25 sports parents at the meeting, asked the Village Board to table the storm water retention project until all stakeholders can agree on a plan. He also encouraged the village to work with Friends of Bay Baseball on the artificial turf project.

"If this project proceeds as planned, it will radically alter the functionality and aesthetics of Cahill Park, and will eliminate and compromise valuable playing fields that are heavily used by the young athletes of this village," Davies said. "Furthermore, it will set a precedent where the preservation of designated public park space could be jeopardized by village infrastructure projects or other unplanned potential uses at the discretion of the Village Board."

Trustee Brenda Szumski said she was receptive to the village helping out with the artificial turf project, but wanted to know more about how the storm water retention project would fit in with the plan.

Trustee Laurie Rollings asked Fuda if the artificial turf would be able to absorb storm water, and Fuda said a sandy base — six to nine inches deep — would underlie the turf and would be capable of absorbing some water.

But for the most part, the baseball diamond would not see much rain water unless it rained more than six inches in a 24-hour period.

"As designed, a 100-year storm would not inundate the infield," said Village Engineer Dan Naze.

No action was planned on the stormwater project and none was taken Tuesday.

Bob McBride September 05, 2012 at 11:41 AM
So lets put one more roadblock in the way of addressing the storm water issues in this Village. It never ends. A baseball field can be moved elsewhere. There's the old armory location, there's space at Lydell and probably a few other locations as well. The houses effected by flood waters, obviously, can't move to higher ground. If the Cahill retention area is now considered an integral part of the plan, concerns about a baseball diamond shouldn't even be an issue. Rip it up and lets get moving. Each delay prolongs the risk for property owners in the vulnerable areas.
JJ September 05, 2012 at 04:07 PM
No thank you on spending my tax dollars on artificial turf for baseball. If the Friends of Bay Baseball want turf then they should raise every cent. With the pending tax increases that we are sure to incur ($105 million for sewer repairs, $4.1 million proposed for a new DPW building, $3600 - $6000 that 400 home owners will have to pay for lateral repairs near Cumberland) we do not need to pay for this! Why are we addressing storm water run-off by putting down artificial turf? Doesn't natural turf absorb water?
StaynConnected September 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM
re: The Cahill Park storm water retention plan would lower the northern end of the grassy park area by eight to nine feet. While I like the concept of incorporating Cahill Park into the storm water retention system, let's continue to preserve it as a park - and for more than WFB HS baseball/softball use. Will it continue to function as a Village park, or will the northern end get fenced off in order to accommodate an 8 foot drop? Will ice-skating be addressed (the surface changes could accommodate a natural retention area for building an ice rink)? What other uses be accommodated on the west end of the park? I tend to agree with Bob McBride's comments that we shouldn't design the park solely around how best to accommodate WFB HS baseball, to the detriment to more fuller use by area kids and other citizens. The baseball field could be moved.
Vinny September 06, 2012 at 12:08 AM
If you look at historical maps, you will see that this area was once designated as marsh land. It is a natural low spot and is a great location for a retention pond. Those that had flooded basements should agree and it is a good start to improve our storm sewer system. Hopefully, we will never have a storm like we did a few years ago, but It is unbelievable that our current sewers cannot handle even a 10-year storm as some earlier articles have stated. Thout that was a minimum standard. The turf issue has nothing to do with storm water issue. It is a permeable carpet that goes over the ground that has higher up front cost, but less maintenance. The high school football/soccer field does look great.

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