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TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIP Athletic Association reopens quest for lights

Published June 08. 2013 09:03AM

The Towamensing baseball group has repeatedly been attending meetings of the Towamensing board of supervisors in an attempt to get permission to put lights on the Babe Ruth ball field which is largely built over a closed landfill.

Resident Sandy Nicolo, who is among the members seeking the lights, put in a right-to-know request and found an email from the engineer saying that lights are a possibility.

Engineer Greg Haas said he does not know if it can be done because he was not out at the fields. Haas looked at the email and said, "This is not my email."

It was from Ron Tirpak, also of Carbon Engineering.

Nicolo said grass is growing under the bathroom doors at the field. He said he gets company time to work on maintenance. Supervisors pay someone to mow and do other maintenance.

"If it is no cost to you why not let us put in the lights? My son had to go to Franklin where they have lights. I'm up there all the time. We just need you to give us the okay," said Nicolo. "We offered to pay the electricity."

Supervisor Tom Newman said he received an email asking what the new softball field needs and where things like a concession stand should be placed. Underground pipes should be placed while it is still open.

A lot of money has gone into construction. Township equipment and crew have worked there and Supervisor Guy Seifert donated and ran equipment, he said.

"We don't want to corrupt the cap (over the landfill). The Babe Ruth field sits on the worst part of the cap," said Newman.

The township spends $6,000 on electricity and $4,000 on maintenance and mowing.

We started the driveway to the soccer field at Forest Inn. We're asking you to orient your field. To my knowledge it needs topsoil, Newman said.

Supervisor Penny Kleintop said there has been a gross misunderstanding.

"The three of us will not risk the health and safety of children by having a pole go down. All we care about is the safety. I've seen the electric bill. Last year Costenbader Bros. did the mowing and they gave us the best price for this year.

Eric Kuehner said the Babe Ruth season ends earlier than Little League and the lights will not be required for as long a time.

Mike Costenbader said he would like to see the new field as a universal field.

Ed Kupillas began work on the lights plan and then moved on. Costenbader said the township refused to accept a second plan. He thought portable mounds could be used on both fields so they would be suitable for softball and baseball.

Costenbader was asked how big a universal field would have to be. The center field has to be 320 feet and there is no more than 220 feet available.

Mark Haydt said he has been a coach for 10 years and has been hearing about the lights. "I don't know anyplace you'll get so much value for so little cost (because of donations).

This is the first time I heard a legitimate reason for refusing the lights - I can appreciate the safety issue, but there are options. To do this we agreed to take on the electricity cost. I can't understand why you just say no, he said.

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