Ball diamonds at Strickfaden Park became more than just a field of dreams Monday night.
The park board, alongside Fredericks & Associates, unveiled engineering plans for Strickfaden Park at a special trustees meeting. The regular Tuesday meeting was canceled in honor of Patriot's Day celebrations in Perkins Township.
Perkins trustees bought the land off Bell Avenue to move ball games away from Sartor Park, where children are exposed to a high volume of traffic in the mall area near Milan Road.
The plans presented represent several phases of the project, the first of which would be to construct a little league diamond as soon as possible and then a pony league diamond in the front half of the park in the years to come.
Parks board president Jeff Printy explained to trustees Bill Dwelle and Chairman Tim Coleman the plans were being presented now because the planning process has reached a stage where a decision needs to be made.
Two storage structures sit on the property and obstruct the most cost-effective plans. Trustees informally agreed with Printy that the first structure, which occupies a portion of land where the little league diamond would be constructed, can likely be torn down.
Printy can now seek a contractor to conduct tree removal. By acting on the plan to remove the storage structure, the township will save more than $50,000 in tree removal expenses alone.
The parks board is working with an Ohio Department of Natural Resources recreation grant that will expire at the end of this year. In total the board has had $108,000 to construct the diamond, half of which was from the state grant. The other 50 percent was previously set aside by trustees.
The park board has worked closely with Erie County Soil and Water Conservation to ensure it is subtracting from and not contributing to the flooding problems in the area.
"We want to try and improve the Bell Avenue flooding situation," Printy said.
The first field will be dug a foot below flood level to allow the graded field to act as a storage basin during torrential rains. A retention basin will also help contain flood waters.
Coleman emphasized the planning took into account residential properties adjacent to the field to ensure driveways to the diamonds don't shine headlights into neighbors' homes or obstruct their driveways.
The process of building a community complex beyond the ball diamonds is being spread out over at least a 15-year timeline, Printy said.