The Spring Hill Little League got the answer it has waited for months to hear on Monday after the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Alderman voted to approve an agreement to deed it 20 acres off Derryberry Lane.
City leaders narrowly passed the resolution authorizing the mayor to enter an agreement deeding the land over to Spring Hill Little League with a vote of 5-4.
Alderman Kayce Williams first brought the proposal before the Board in July, along with the knowledge that the imminent extension for Saturn Parkway over to Beechcroft Road would eliminate four of the Little League’s six fields. According to Tom Mencer, president of the Spring Hill Little League, the loss of the fields will mean about 250-300 kids turned away if they are not replaced.
As at past meetings, discussion prior to Monday’s vote on the resolution largely concerned a lack of information on how the Little League plans to go about building four new fields on the 20-acre property off of Derryberry Lane.
Alderman Amy Wurth, who has expressed hesitation over deeding the land since the resolution first came up, said on Monday there was not enough information for her to support deeding land over when there are other leagues in Spring Hill that also have needs.
Using figures originally gathered for the proposed expansion of Evans Park, city officials found that a baseball quadplex on the Derryberry Lane property could total as much as $3.8 million.
According to the estimates from the Evans Park redesign plans, the fields themselves would represent around one-third of the total cost, with three 150-foot fields with lighting costing $825,000 and one 200-foot field with lighting costing $350,00.
The ability of the Little League to fund the project has been a major concern, and on Monday Alderman Jonathan Duda pointed out that Spring Hill Little League brings in about $100,000 a year in revenue and spends about the same amount each year.
“You’re looking at a $3.8 million project,” Duda said. “Maybe you get half donated in kind, so then it’s a $2 million project. On funding a $2 million project, I asked for how you plan to fund that. Do we have that?
“I would hope for this to work. I support public and private partnerships. But I think since June I’ve asked for how you intend to do what you wish to do. It sounds like you have some good ideas. You’ve thought about it obviously, but we haven’t had anything prepared for us.”
Mencer said the Little League has looked over some grants and families involved in the league will be able to help out, as well. He added General Motors intends to donate as much field equipment as it can from the existing fields.
“I just don’t know if you guys will be able to be satisfied,” said Vice Mayor Bruce Hull. “I don’t think the plans you’re looking for are going to come out of this league. The Little League has every motivation. They want to exist. I want to vote on it and I still plan on supporting it.”
The Board of Mayor and Alderman ultimately voted 5-4 to approve the resolution to deed the land to the Little League. Aldermen Duda, Fitterer, Wurth and Hudson voted against it.
Quint Qualls covers Spring Hill for Home Page Media Group. Reach him at email@example.com.