A swamp of sorts exists at two of the ballfields at Brandon Park, but it is one that is in an outfield that is supposed to be where youngsters playing baseball are catching fly balls.
“We’ve got to fix the stormwater drainage at Brandon Park,” said City
Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, chairwoman of the city public works committee.
Council recently moved another $600,000 into spending for recreational items as part of the use of the American Rescue Plan, a motion made by Councilman Jon Mackey who has advocated for the ballfields to be made playable again.
Representatives of Williamsport Area Little League, Ron Diemer and Mike Fox, have also urged council and the administration to do what is necessary and approve the ARPA funds to fix the water and drainage issues that continue to soak and erode the fields away.
“Fix the dilapidated fences that are falling over and riddled with protruding sharp edges and reestablish a safe and playable field for the kids in our community,” Diemer said.
The league representatives promised to maintain the fields once they are made playable.
“WALL is not just asking for Little League play but so it can be safe for kids to play a sandlot game,” Diemer said.
“We hang our hats on the city being the home of Little League but will we wear it on our sleeves?” Fox asked the council.
Over the past two years, the league has spent $13,000 to repair and enhance fields in Old Lycoming Township, where the team plays due to the unplayable conditions in the city park. This year it plans to spend $7,000 on more soil, including Major League quality soil; and will paint the dugouts, concession stand and press boxes at the township facility. It also will pour concrete pads for soil storage along with preparing for T-ball play.
That much investment on the ballfields troubles Jeff Reeder, who lives along the border of Brandon Park, who said his concerns are with council considering use of up to $600,000 to $1 million on their restoration.
“I am not opposed to the use of funding to help with improvements,” Reeder said.
Such early design plans are in play.
For example, the city administration recently put the engineering design on the stormwater drainage issue and permit requirements out for bid.
The administration of the city has put out requests for proposals to get design services for two baseball fields.
Anticipated work includes, but is not limited to, a full topographic survey of the fields which are frequently wet due to poor storm water drainage, said Jon Sander, city engineer.
The work includes preliminary design to repair that storm water problem, and a review of the current electrical system needs.
It is understood that the area to be disturbed will be over one acre, which means that will require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection and review of the permit by the Lycoming County Conservation District.
The project bid also included the final design and the estimated cost of any construction. It also includes administration costs, such as reviews with any potential contractors and any final punch out items that may be added.
The project is expected to be reviewed again by public works and finance committees and the full body of council.