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Town may create rectangular sports field

Ashley Andyshak
Frederick News Post

(6/22)  The town could be able to host soccer, lacrosse, and football leagues by this fall if Commissioner Tim O'Donnell's proposal moves forward.

On Monday, O'Donnell suggested the town consider removing the outfield fence from the softball field next to the town office building, creating a rectangular field. This would accommodate a variety of sports, including soccer, football and lacrosse in addition to softball.

"This would be very valuable to the town," he said. "We have a proud tradition with baseball and softball ... but not everyone's cut out for those sports and I'd like to see more opportunity."

Jeff Little, president of Emmitsburg Baseball and Softball, said many Emmitsburg youth travel to Thurmont or Fairfield, Pa., to participate in sports leagues. Their families spend money there on food and gas. Keeping these families in town for sports would direct this food and fuel money to Emmitsburg businesses.

O'Donnell read from a letter from Ray Barnes, the executive director of facilities services for Frederick County Public Schools, which owns the field. Barnes wrote the town is authorized to remove all fencing on the field except for the backstop, and to use volunteers and heavy equipment to do so. After such removal, the town would continue to schedule teams and maintain the field, Barnes wrote.

Town manager Dave Haller recommended the fence be removed professionally instead of exposing volunteers to the safety risks involved with the project. He said he received bids for the fence removal and disposal and the project would cost about $7,300. This cost would likely decrease if only the outfield fence was removed and the border fences were left intact.

Mayor Jim Hoover said the 2010-2011 budget includes a modest amount of money for parks and recreation. He recommended O'Donnell work with town staff to determine the actual scope of the work to be completed and then solicit new bids. Haller said he would be able to present new bids to the town within a few weeks.

In other news, Hoover announced that the first block of South Seton Avenue is scheduled to reopen July 2. The road has been closed since April, when a fire destroyed an apartment building on the southeast quadrant of the town square.

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