Reynoldsburg Council approves sharing baseball facilities

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By Dustin Ensinger

Staff Writer

Reynoldsburg City Council approved an agreement with a youth baseball organization for use of four of the city’s five baseball diamonds.

“I think we’re a lot stronger when we have these kinds of partners,” said Councilman Barth Cotner.

The agreement provides Reynoldsburg with several benefits, according to city officials. The city will receive a portion of the Central Ohio Clippers Organization’s sponsorship revenue and registration fees.

“This is a boon for the city,” attorney Jed Hood said. “All we are doing is basically giving them access to the fields we don’t currently utilize.”

The Central Ohio Clippers Organization will also make what Hood called “significant improvements” to the baseball diamonds, furnishing all the materials and labor.

“We will have final say on the materials, the size and the scope,” Hood said. “But they will be conducting the work and providing the materials.”

City officials also expect the partnership to have a major impact on local businesses, including restaurants and hotels.

“Youth sports is in such a big, big boom right now,” Cotner said. “I think it’s going to bleed into the community.”

The legislation was passed under emergency order, with Councilman Mel Clemens questioning the rush to approve the agreement.

The measure was passed in haste so the organization knows it has a home and can begin scheduling tournaments, according to Hood.

The legislation had been delayed because of concerns by Councilman Daniel Skinner about liability issues that could arise from allowing the organization to use the fields.

Assistant City Attorney Matthew Roth said state law provides municipalities with immunity for governmental functions. The Central Ohio Clippers Organization will also be required to carry a $1 million insurance policy.

The Central Ohio Clippers Organization, founded in 2009, is associated with the Columbus Clippers, the Cleveland Indians top minor league club. The organization began with just one team. It now fields teams for baseball players ranging in age from nine to 19. In the past two years, it has hosted nearly 100 teams in tournaments.

Other Reynoldsburg news

•Council approved an agreement with the city of Columbus to provide $66,000 for its upcoming Brice Road rehabilitation project. Much of the $4.9 million project was paid for through a $3.6 million Ohio Public Works Commission grant. The project, which will include the resurfacing of about 6,900 feet of the roadway from I-70 to Main Street, is slated to begin in April and be completed by next fall.

•Service Department Director Nathan Hurd said the city is in talks with New Albany-based EMH&T for engineering services. The company was one of 10 different firms that applied.

“We are desperate to get an engineer available to us,” Burd said.

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