BLUE EARTH - With several groups eyeing the land at the Faribault County Fairgrounds, its future use was discussed Monday by the Blue Earth City Council.
Brent Legred, president of the Youth Baseball Association, and Rob Norman, Blue Earth Area activities director, want to expand the city's ball fields, while Daryl Murray, president of the fair board, wants to expand the fair and add other attractions throughout the year.
Legred says Blue Earth needs more ball fields.
Thirty-eight teams have signed up for a tournament in Blue Earth. Legred said finding space for all of them to play has been a problem in the past. One field east of the high school has been under water for two years, he said.
"As we grow, this will be a big thing we can do for this town," he said, and he wasn't just talking about the economy.
Legred works with kids kindergarten through grade 10 and told of a boy who visited practice a few times, then came back to join the team. This year, he brought friends.
Legred is willing to have his teams help with upkeep of the fields, and to share them with girls softball and the adult town softball team. He wants to expand the fields on Fourteenth Street too.
Norman said work has been done on the high school fields, but the teams still go to Winnebago too.
Norman said land formerly used for the go-kart track could be converted if the lights are moved and other changes made.
Murray has some ideas of his own.
"What could we do differently that could bring more people to the fair?" he asked. "We need more room in front of the grandstand."
The fair itself draws from quite an area, he pointed out, but the fair board of directors is looking to expand use of the grandstand year-round.
He said the fairgrounds could attract more events, such as rodeos, if it had more room. The go-kart track could be used for storage and parking for those events, Murray said.
"If a ball field is developed, it will limit what we can do," he said.
"The city owns the (race) track and the fair board owns the Green Giant statue," said Murray, adding that they could swap property. "Good, common sense trade."
The council is still considering how to help the baseball association and what land could be included in a swap.
In other business, the City Council voted to contract with Mosquito Control of Iowa for $10,400 for aerial spraying of mosquitos as needed.
"That's a lot of money for that," said Gaylord.
"We were willing to do $15,000 [last year]," Councilman Russ Erichsrud reminded him.
"I didn't like that either," Gaylord said.
"Can't go without it," Councilman Rick Scholtes said.
"Did years ago," Gaylord replied before casting his dissenting vote.