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Post Messenger Recorder PMR New Glarus Monticello Belleville News Publishing

By Sue Moen 

New Glarus Village Board Discusses Site for New Softball Field


March 16, 2017

The drawing above shows the proposed placement of a softball field at Veterans Park.

The New Glarus Village Board met for their regular meeting on March 7, 2017, in the boardroom at Village Hall. During the public comment section, Joel Piper, with the New Glarus Baseball Association, provided an update to the Board on the batting cages being purchased and installed by the Association. He reported that they expect the wiring and installation of the mats to be complete by end of March with the batting cages ready for use in by the beginning of April. Piper noted that the organization is standing their pledge to support the village with anything that promotes baseball in the Village.

The board unanimously passed the consent agenda, which included approving a transfer of The New Glarus Primrose Winery Class B license from their former location at 500 1st Street to their building at 226 2nd Street. The transfer was requested to allow The New Glarus Primrose Winery to sell their remaining inventory out of the 2nd Street building. Also included was an application for land division by CSM for a 67-acre property on CTH NN. The Town of New Glarus Plan Commission and Technical Review Committee had reviewed and approved the application. The ETZ Committee had also reviewed and approved the application.

Village Administrator Bryan Gadow began the discussion on the softball field cost estimates by reviewing the updated plans and estimates prepared by Fehr Graham for improvements to the field at Glarner Park and the construction of a new field at Veteran's Park. Gadow reported that the tennis court area at Veterans Park is currently the only available location for a new field, noting that after discussions with the school board, they are not interested in having their practice fields be used for a softball field. The estimates prepared by Fehr Graham reflect a base cost option for each of the fields as well as various add-in amenities for each. Administrator Gadow noted that the other amenities such as lights and a concession stand could be added at a later date. He noted that the numbers used were not final bid numbers, but estimates.

Trustee Greg Thoemke said he didn't have questions but wanted to share his thoughts. He noted that a comparison of the two plans/estimates provided by Fehr Graham listing the basic costs, lighting costs and scoreboard costs for each of the two sites. The comparison showed basic costs for Glarner Park between $139,222.50 to $160,105.88 and Veterans Park between $192,240.00 and $221,076.00. The total costs for Glarner Park between $229,222.50 to $250,105.88 and Veterans Park between $412,240.00 and $441,076.00. Thoemke said the difference between the total costs for Glarner Park and Vet's Park to be $183,017.50 to $190,970.10, with upgrades to Glarner Park being less costly for the Village.

In addition to the additional cost of the project at Veteran's Park, Trustee Thoemke said he was concerned with the loss of green space both in Veterans Park with the building of a new softball field and at Glarner Park with the building of a new library. Thoemke added that the size of a new softball field would be regulation size by one foot, and that Glarner Park is larger. He said that in his opinion the building of a ball field in Veterans Park would be "disrespectful" to the veterans, as it would take away from the Veterans Memorial in the parks.

Trustee Barb Anderson replied that she doesn't agree with the loss of green space, noting a softball field instead of tennis courts at Veterans Park will create green space and a new library on Glarner Park won't use all of the green space there. She reminded the board that the referendum on location of a library indicated Glarner Park was the preferred site. Anderson also noted that costs for the project just continue to increase.

Trustee Petra Streiff thanked Administrator Gadow for his research on the ball field options, noting there is no other available option for a new softball field other than Veterans Park.

Board members discussed the lay-out and funding of a new field with Parks Director Chris Rear, noting many fundraising options between community organizations, the school and youth organizations. He also indicated that the amenities can always be added as they can be afforded.

Thoemke reported he had been approached by the veterans and asked that the village to purchase the property at the corner of 6th Avenue and STH 69 and relocate their memorial if the village decided to pursue an additional ball field at Veterans Park. Board members briefly discussed the listing price of that property and the need to meet with the veterans.

Parks Director Chris Rear stated that the Glarner Park field is currently WIAA compliant, as would be the proposed new field at Veterans Park. He indicated that to host WIAA playoff games, such as Sectionals, the WIAA looks at several factors including availability of parking, restrooms, concessions, etc. and there would be a better opportunity for hosting such games with the proposed field at Veterans Park. Currently Glarner Park would not be able to host a Sectional playoff game due to lack of those amenities. He noted that it had been a number of years since adult leagues had used the Glarner Park.

After further discussion by the board on the various details remaining to be worked through for relocation of a ball field, the board took up the motion to designate Veterans Park as the site for a new WIAA compliant softball field and also ask Park Director Chris Rear and Administrator Bryan Gadow to work on finalizing a plan and a budget to present for discussion. Motion carried 5-1, with Thoemke voting no.

Gadow reported that recently the Village had been informed that it had not been awarded the requested $12,500 grant from the Wisconsin Historical Society for assistance with Historic District Nomination paperwork for 1st and 2nd Street Districts. The Society reported receiving $197,800 in grant requests with only $100,000 in funds to allocate. Gadow said he would look into options for utilizing TIF funds for consultant costs related to this work or possibly preparing the nominations for 2nd Street with assistance of Village Staff and the Historic Preservation Commission.

Videos of Village Board meetings are available on


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