City workers won’t prepare and line softball fields in Union. 

Citing a lack of manpower for the parks department, the park board voted to let the Union Girls Softball Association (UGSA) know the city could not fulfill its request.

At the September park board meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Angela Lairmore said UGSA asked the city for help getting fields ready for games. She said the association wanted to know if the city could prepare and line the fields.

Lairmore said based on the most recent schedule, fields were prepped on 69 different days. UGSA plays games on four fields — two at the softball complex and two at Veterans Memorial Park.

Lairmore told the park board she didn’t think the city had the staff to handle the request. Since taking over in August 2017, Lairmore said the city has sought part-time help for the summers.

In her tenure, she said just one person has applied for the part-time position. With her full-time crews occupied, Lairmore said she wasn’t sure how the fields could be prepared without extra help.

“Our crew is lean and mean and is very busy fulfilling our duties,” she said. 

Park board member David Pope said if the city can’t help, the responsibility falls to parents. He said when he was involved in youth sports as a parent, volunteering was part of the gig. 

Other park board members agreed. 

Several park board members pointed out that if the city helped line and prepare softball fields, a request to do the baseball fields would likely be incoming from the baseball association. The board agreed there was no way the city could handle all the field prep work for both sports.

City Administrator Russell Rost said it really sounded like a manpower issue and that the city just didn’t have the people needed to assist. Lairmore said the only option she could think of to help would to be to reach out to the parks other seasonal workers.

Lairmore said concession workers at the parks have, in the past, sought more hours. She said maybe the city could pass along those names and the workers could assist UGSA with the field work. 

Fair Projects

Changes will be coming to the Union fairgrounds.

The Union Park Board recently backed two request by the Franklin County Fair Board. The requests both are related to the tractor pull.

Parks and Recreation Director Angela Lairmore said she was contacted by the board following this June’s Fair. After talking with staff and the Union Baseball Association, she said she felt comfortable moving the ideas forward and presenting them to the park board.

The first request was for the baseball field along Memorial Parkway. The Fair has used the area for tractor pull events in recent years.

The pulls have a forced stopping point because of the dugouts and backstop. The Fair Board requested the dugouts and backstop be removed to allow for a longer pull area.

Lairmore said the dugout covers are fairly new and could be repurposed at another field. She said the backstop fence could be used for more fencing during the Fair. 

Lairmore pointed out the field hasn’t been used for baseball games in the last two years since Veterans Memorial Park opened. It has been used for practice as needed. 

The second project involves building an announcers booth along Memorial Drive. The 20-foot by 10-foot booth would be used during the Fair. 

The park board didn’t have an issue with either request and supported both projects.