Park Board Accepts Settlement on Paul Smith Damage


Published on September 5 2013 11:30 am
Last Updated on September 5 2013 11:34 am
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Park Board has accepted a settlement for the damage done to the first base bleachers at Paul Smith Field in Community Park last winter.

Strong winds late last year caused the structure protecting some of the first base bleachers to collapse.  The area was examined to determine whether design work by the architect or construction work contributed to the collapse.


Wednesday, the Park Board accepted an offer of $75,000 to settle the issue; $50,000 from the bonding company for the contractor, RCM, and $25,000 from the insurance carrier for Sandra Walk Architects.

The Park District spent another $16,000 for work to reinforce the canopy over the bleachers on the third base side of the field to refasten the supports to the concrete footings in hopes of insuring against a similar occurrence on that side.

Park Board members decided against placing a net to lessen the number of softballs flying over the left field fence at Hendelmeyer Park.  The slow pitch softball league that uses the back diamond previously donated a net that was placed along the right field fence to prevent balls from ending up in the backyard of duplexes that are located along Hendelmeyer Avenue and just beyond right field fence. 

Park District Director Jeff Althoff said a 30-foot tall by 100-foot wide net to lessen the number of balls leaving the field would cost $6,800 not to mention the cost of poles, cables and the installation work.  Althoff said the cost is too prohibitive, especially considering the apartment building beyond the left field fence is farther from the field than the duplexes beyond the right field fence.  He said that if the owners of the apartment building would consider sharing in the cost of the project, the Park Board would reconsider their decision.

Park commissioners also discussed the cool and wet weather that plagued much of the swim season this year, leading to a drop in revenue of $18,000 this year at Kluthe Pool compared to 2012.  Althoff said the Board might review the price structure for 2014, but only as a last resort.

There was discussion of capital improvement projects for 2014, which will chiefly focus on continuing the upgrades of parking lots and roadways in district parks, and relighting the fastpitch softball diamond at Hendelmeyer Park.