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Further Development at Little League Ball Fields Threatens City Well Field, Destroys Greenspace and Continues the Exclusion of Residents From Public Park Gifted to City!

Further Development at Little League Ball Fields Threatens City Well Field, Destroys Greenspace and Continues the Exclusion of Residents From Public Park Gifted to City!

Prepared Comments Made to

NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL

February 11, 2013 


       Last week many people spoke pro and con before this body regarding the addition of lighting at the North Canton Little League Ball Fields. Obvious for most who heard the remarks, the concern is the intrusion that the lights bring to the
surrounding neighborhoods along with traffic and parking issues and the noise
from crowds and loud speakers that are already disruptive in daylight hours, a
disruption that may now extend into the evening and nighttime hours. 

       Beyond the obvious intrusions, I think everyone is forgetting the larger picture and that is the fact that the North Canton Little League Ball Field is the site of a City well field. 

       The designation of the area as a public park is supposed to prevent development and protect the aquifer below. That is not being considered now, nor has it been considered in the past as many structures have been built on the property by the North Canton Little League during the term of the present lease. 

       Protection of the City’s well field should be paramount and development limited as the addition of infrastructures on the property further complicates security of the well field and the underlying aquifer. 

       In addition, the property was gifted to North Canton by the Hoover Company to be used as a “Public Park.” Park land brings with it the presumption that it will be maintained as Greenspace to be enjoyed by all of its citizens, not developed with buildings and parking lots with large numbers of people converging and trampling nature with lights ablaze into the nighttime.

       I also have concerns that nineteen acres of public park land have been handed over to a select few for their exclusive use and I am talking about the lease of the property to the group known as the North Canton Little League, most of whom are nonresidents of North Canton.

       The Hoover Company gave the citizens of North Canton this acreage and the terms of the gift state that the property be used exclusively for a “Public Park.”

       There is nothing in the terms of the Hoover gift that says the property can be handed over to a select few to use as they see fit, no matter what their intentions are.

       North Canton residents are being denied the peaceful use of a public park and are losing the Greenspace that the park was intended to provide.

       The exclusion of a great majority of North Canton residents from the entirety of the nineteen acres of property gifted to the city bothers me greatly. My distress over the lease arrangement with the North Canton Little League Board of Directors is heightened by the fact that I have learned that North Canton children are being barred from participating in or using the ball fields for lack of financial resources.

       I have received word from a parent of four children that her kids were not allowed to play at the Little League Ball Fields as they were unable to pay the registration fees demanded by the Little League Board. The parent asked to make payments and was turned down by the President of the Board of Directors.

       How many other children have been denied playing time at the ball field for financial reasons? And to add insult to the hurt for this parent, the parent says at the same time other children were offered scholarships so they could play without payment of registration fees.

       This particular mother is a taxpayer in the city, owns her own home, and her four children attend North Canton City Schools. This individual tells me that she is familiar with numerous parents who can’t afford to play any longer at the North Canton Little League Fields and have chosen other sports options outside the City of North Canton for their children. 

       This is supposed to be a “Public Park” but that is not the way it is being run.

       I drive past the North Canton Little League Ball Field without any thought as to what is happening there. The sign at the entrance is titled “Hoover Community Recreation Complex.”

        I have learned that the only recreation going on there is recreation approved by the North Canton Little League Board of Directors, to the exclusion of most North Canton residents including North Canton children whose parents cannot afford the required registration fee to play. 

       The request to add lights to the North Canton Little League Ball Fields should be denied for many reasons. I have given you many of those reasons. The opponents who spoke before this body last Monday night gave you many more. 

       I ask that you call three strikes on this issue and end the game on the lighting request. 

 

Thank you,

Chuck Osborne

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Patricia Davis February 12, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Play in his yard? Mr Osborne owns NO PROPETY inside the City of North Canton. The home in which he resides is in his wife's name. Check the Stark County Auditor's page. He needs to back off. He has no children that will play or not play at the fields.
Patricia Davis February 13, 2013 at 05:35 PM
The people spoke years ago when he was not re-elected to Council, Council-at-Large or as Mayor. It is a matter of public record who owns the home in which he resides. Yes, I've heard of Freedom of Speech. That is why I wrote what I did! It is not a matter of whether I agree with or don't agree with him. I am along with others, tired of his 'grandstanding' and xxxching and moaning about everything that goes on in this City that he does not agree with. I am a homeowner, a voter, a parent, a grandparent, a taxpayer and a resident of North Canton ... that's who I am! And I am also someone who uses their full name rather than leaving my last name off of my comments!
Gary L. Giammarco February 13, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Chuck, I take exception to your statement that a player or players have been excluded from Little League play due to not being able to pay the registration fee.This is an inaccurate statement. Obviously your research is flawed. I've been President of the Little League Board of Directors for 25 years. In those 25 years any child , whose parent or guardian is unable to pay the registration, is never denied the ability to play. There has never in my awareness been a child not allowed to play because of money. If some one fell through the cracks it was not brought to my or the boards attention. We are very particular about this. Respctfully Gary L. Giammarco
Chuck Osborne February 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Mr. Giammarco, I have two emails from a parent supporting my remarks. I do not make this stuff up. Contact me if you would like the documentation. This parent states they are aware of other North Canton families who are pursuing sports options beyond what is being offered by the North Canton Little League as a result of the costs of the registration fees. I stand by my research and my statements. Thank you.
Todd Evans February 15, 2013 at 11:09 PM
It continues to amaze me how Mr. Osborne attacks something that benefits the youth in our community. If a youth age 9 to 12 wants to play baseball, little league is the most affordable option. Thank god we have Little League in our community. The other option is travel baseball with their registration fees, tournament entry fees for each weekend you play, hotels, gas, and other hidden expenses. Plus with Little League you get to play with your friends that you go to school with. I believe Mr. Giammarco when he says that if parents go to him, Tom Meder, or others at North Canton Little League and indicate that they cannot play the registration fee, they will waive the fee. The fee is necessary to buy balls, pay umpires, purchase equipment, and maintain the upkeep of the fields. We also have to do fundraising to help with these costs. This is a non-issue that should be put to bed.

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