Blue Earth considering new dugouts

BLUE EARTH — The team dugouts at the city-owned Veterans Baseball Field at the Faribault County Fairgrounds in Blue Earth are in need of repair.

The Blue Earth City Council spent some time at its meeting Monday discussing several options for constructing new ones.

Council members looked at four types of dugouts, with had price tags ranging from $7,000 to $11,000 each.

However, most of the council’s discussion centered on when to do it, and how to fund it.

“This is just some preliminary information,” said city administrator Tim Ibisch. “Just to get the council’s input on how to proceed. One suggestion could be to send it to the Park and Rec Board for further study.”

Ibisch said there was no money in this year’s budget to cover the cost, but added that the best time to undertake such a project is in the fall, after the baseball season is over.

Waiting for it to be in the 2020 budget would have the work being done after two ball seasons, it was pointed out.

The current block wall dugouts are cracked due to not having a good foundation, Ibisch said.

Other discussion on the topic included working with the Blue Earth Baseball Association and Blue Earth Area Schools to see if they would agree to help with planning and funding.

Another suggestion was to contact the Twins Foundation, which funds improvements to baseball fields. Blue Earth qualified for a grant from the Twins when the outfield was improved in the past.

No decision was made on the matter, but the council will have city staff continue to work on the project and send it to the Park and Rec Committee for further review.

In other business, the council:

o Heard updates from Wes Brown, city engineer, concerning several projects that are delayed because of rain. Crews are ready to install curb, gutter and sidewalks at the new housing development as early as today, if the rain stays away. They would then pave next week. The same goes for paving on the 13th and Moore Street project and paving at the wastewater treatment plant.

o Heard the annual audit report for Blue Earth Light and Water. The audit showed improvements in the water fund from previous years.

o Discussed issues with a vacant house south of the high school, and what could be done about it. Ibisch reported the owner has paid the property taxes and the vacant building fee, but the house is in poor condition and is a safety hazard. The city has also sent the owner a letter about keeping the lawn mowed. If they do not mow it, the city will and bill them for it.

o Voted to form a new permanent personnel committee that would be comprised of Mayor Rick Scholtes and Councilwoman Wendy Cole, as well as two city staff members.