It looks like a new baseball field is going ahead in Stephenville.
Council members in attendance at Thursday's regular general meeting approved requests for quotations for baseball field fencing and for infield mix - the ground used on the pitcher's mound and outside the grassed area.
Despite the defferal approved at the previous meeting, it was back on the agenda on Thursday at a meeting that Felix, the finance committee chairman, was absent from.
The approvals for both quotations went ahead with all those in attendance in agreement. In addition to Coun. Felix, Coun. Maurice Hynes was not in attendance.
Mike Campbell, town manager, said in a phone call after the meeting that it's estimated the costs this year to the town will be about $30,000 for the quotations they are seeking, which will be added to Emera's donation of $90,000, for a $120,000 field.
He said the original price tag at the February meeting included some additions, including a score clock and batter's cage.
Campbell said those things could be added in subsequent years.
Coun. Mark Felix was adamant he wasn’t going to have anything to do with approving a large sum of money for a new baseball diamond.
The finance committee chairman made his feelings known at the latest regular general meeting of the Stephenville town council on Thursday when a recommendation came forward from his finance committee to allocate $87,600 for the construction of a baseball field.
“That’s a big ask for the same type of facility that we just closed down five years ago,” he said.
Felix was referring to Pieroway Park, a baseball diamond located near Minnesota Drive that was getting very little use in the years leading up to the decision to close it.
Since its closure, a housing development has been built on the land that it occupied.
Felix said before he could approve money for a baseball field he would first like to find out how many children are enrolled in the baseball program and noted that there is no senior or high school baseball program in the town now.
Mayor Tom Rose said the catalyst for this was Emera putting in $90,000 towards the facility, which would be needed if the town was to host baseball tournaments.
“Sometimes it’s ‘a build it and they will come’ scenario,” he said.
Felix said it was his understanding the request was going to be a lot less – something like $20,000 to leverage that money and now it’s almost up to matching it.
“It’s not that I’m against it going forward, it’s just too much money at one time that’s not in the budget,” he said. “We (town) have demands like fixing potholes.”
Felix made a motion to amend the request and defer it until more information can be attained.
Rose said the work would take place over at least a two-year period, since it takes time for grass to grow from hydroseeding, so they have time.
In the end, all members of council agreed to amend the motion and defer it for more information.