City of Washington

The Washington Park Board Committee gave thumbs up to measures aimed at improving city ball fields.

The committee recommended purchasing a laser level and conducting soil sampling on all of the ball fields.

The Washington Youth Sports Association (WYSA) requested improvements to the fields to help with drainage and offered to help cover the costs, Darren Dunkle, parks director said.

To get proper drainage, the fields need to be laser leveled, Dunkle said. Depending on the size of the field, leveling ranges from $2,000 to $2,500 each.

“It gets pretty expensive when you’re looking at six fields,” Dunkle said. “And it’s not just a one-time shot. Realistically, it needs to be done every year or every other year if you want to have decent fields and decent drainage.”

Rather than hiring someone, Dunkle suggested the city purchase the equipment so city staff can level as needed.

The equipment is estimated to cost $15,000 and WYSA has agreed to pay half of the cost.

Bill Kackley, committee member said that purchasing the equipment makes more sense than paying almost the same amount for one-time leveling.

Dunkle noted that the fields are in a safe playing condition, but if they fields were level, fewer games would get rained out, kids would have a better surface to play on and city staff would spend less time working on the fields.

The request will move to the full park board for a recommendation.

Soil composition also has an effect on drainage. The WYSA requested soil amendments on the fields.

To determine what amendments would be needed, soil samples of each field would be needed. The samples would reveal how much silt, sand and clay is in each field.

According to standards, there is a certain percentage of each that should be on the field for proper play.

“We have a lot of sand and a lot of silt and not much clay,” said Darren Dunkle.

Soil amendments can’t be made until after this year’s baseball season, he said.

The WYSA agreed to pay for half of the soil samples if the city would pay the other half.

The cost is about $1,000, Dunkle said. The funds are in the park budget.