Naming rights

Some hoping for more improvements at Huron Park ball field.
Register
Jun 12, 2013

 

The former Cliff Schirg field at Sandusky's Huron Park might become known as Home Depot Park if the giant retailer follows through on a suggestion from a city activist to help with renovations at the ball field. 

Waterfront watchdog Tim Schwanger posted a comment at sanduskyregister.com Monday about the effort. He contacted Home Depot, he said, "to see if they would be interested in taking on the repair and painting of the fencing as one of their projects." 

Getting the park cleaned up has hit some roadblocks, however, from city officials. Commissioners Diedre Cole and Wes Poole during a recent commission meeting asked city staff to drag the field once a month to make it safer for the children who use the ball park. 

But city manager Nicole Ard, Smith and other commissioners all refused to support the request, contending there weren't enough city workers to occasionally maintain the field. Commissioner Julie Farrar suggested Poole seemed ignorant for asking grounds workers to clean up the park.

"I guess you could get all that work done with just those four people and that wouldn't overwhelm you?" Farrar stated in an email to Poole. "You're so awesome."

But the park was cleaned up and the infield was dragged for weeds and rocks, in a quick makeover June 4, the same day the Register published a story about the rift among commissioners.

Click here to read related articles. 

Smith has since stated on his personal Facebook page that the cleanup at the field was in the process of being scheduled but he didn't mention whether that schedule would have allowed for the park to get cleaned during summer break. 

Smith has used the social media site to post information about city business and events announcements. He's also used the site to complain about his colleagues on commission, Schwanger, and the Register. Smith has suggested the Register's coverage in articles about the ball field and other news has been inaccurate, but his complaints in that regard don't reflect accurate detail or description, or warrant corrections. The Register publishes corrections whenever information reported is determined to be inaccurate. 

In his second year on commission, Smith has declared that the Register is backing a Schwanger for city commissioner campaign because Schwanger has been quoted in news reports about the ball field and other efforts in which he's been involved. Smith has made similar suggestions about commissioners Cole and Poole, complaining when they are quoted in news articles. 

"Rumor has it is the Register has started working on Mrs. Coles re-election campaign, as well as a new campaign for Tim Schwanger, so stay tuned to the Sandusky Register for Cole/Schwanger feel good stories," Smith posted at the site.

Smith's statement is not accurate. 

Schwanger said Tuesday he is considering a run for city commissioner, but he's also stated that in the past. He is a longtime activist and has previously said he believed he could accomplish more in that role than as a city commissioner. The commission seats currently held by Cole, Brown and Hamilton are open seats this fall in a bipartisan election. There are no declared candidates. 

Schwanger and others spearheaded a petition drive in 2011 to reform city government to eliminate the city manager's position in favor of a strong mayor form of government. The city hired city manager Nicole Ard at the time and the ballot initiative was defeated by a margin of 55-45 percent in March 2012.

Schwanger declined to give a definitive answer when asked Tuesday whether he would be a candidate for city commission this fall, but said he wants to work with Smith and others to get the ball field in better shape. 

"We are hoping to see Commissioner Smith (maybe he will donate the paint and equipment) and his Facebook supporters, along with community members (you too Waldo) lend a helping hand," Schwanger posted at the sanduskyregister.com. "That is if Smith doesn't try to sabotage the effort."

Several other readers posted at the article saying they'd be willing to help the effort. 

"I have called the city to see if the SHS class of 98 can fix up the park," bucsfan98 posted Wednesday. "I am waiting for an answer from city manager." 

Ard has not responded to inquiries from the Register and it's unknown if she responded to buscfan98's call. The city manager generally does not return phone calls from reporters or respond to email inquiries. If she does reply, her responses are some times off-topic or nonsensical. 

Commissioners Smith, Farrar, Pervis Brown, Keith Grohe, Poole and ex officio mayor John Hamilton also have not replied to an email from the Register seeking more information. 

Cole has said she's glad the field was cleaned up and hopes the city manager can make sure it gets continued attention.

Comments

Minuteman

If you have to have a story in the paper to get a public park cleaned up, something is wrong. Before laying the blame on anyone, we need to get a good understanding of what is involved, what resources are available and the plan in place now for upkeep of all the parks. How much money is allotted for how much work. If any area is lacking, then take the steps now to correct the problems.

Darkhorse

Minuteman, that seems like a good plan and too logical to me. Whatever happen to the city's mission statement--service with a smile?

Left Sandtown

Thanks Tim,you have the right idea.If you ask enough people someone will help and this could benefit both parties.Following this recent story about the park,kind of holds a special place in me.I not only grew up playing at Huron Park,but in 1970 when it became Cliff Schirg Field(who was my Father)made it for alittle more concern.My opinion the city should take a step back and realize what recreation is to a community.If need so Sandusky,run your rec/dept as a business,I`m going to shed some light here,the city I`m in now 3 baseball/softball complexes 12-fields total,and 4 other single field locations.These locations are up and running 6-7 nights a wk,youth baseball boys/girls,also Adult Men/Women softball leagues.These parks are well kept they all have concessions and the stands are full of family and fans.Switch gears if you do not like baseball/softball this city offers unlimited amount of Adult Rec.Horshoes,vollyball,tennis and golf lessons and this city has 3-city pools,family membership per yr.180.00.Population in this city 58,000 2x size but you should get the picture.The city needs not to pay for this the people do or businesses through support to the paticular team or teams they choose to support.My final point is Sandusky has no Adult Rec/options after your children reach 18 where are they to go.You must bring the option back.Good Luck and God Bless.

Blues

How would you put that very huge paragraph without any breaks, in English, Left Sandtown?

pavedparadise

Left Sandtown is nail on. Business' look at parks and recreation when they locate/relocate. Our downtown parks look great. Others need work.

T. A. Schwanger

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@Left Sandtown

Thank you for the words of encouragement.

I spoke with Home Depot today. They are continuing to gather information on what they will need for repairs and have, thus far, not been discouraged by the issues going on between the City Commissioners (sigh of relief) regarding this issue. They will eventually have to contact the City for approval.

Home Depot is not at all interested in "naming rights" for the park and I think this was the Register's way of lightening up the mood a bit.

The Sandusky High School Class of 1998 has come forward to help as well.

I've been doing volunteer work for the City and I must say city crews are a great bunch of people and they are understaffed. With that said, it was time to look for other options to address the park issue. It doesn't matter how it gets fixed-as long as it gets fixed.

Wald

Is it true that the city was planning on taking care of the field after they had finished the removal of some trees that were hazardous to the citizens? How about following up on that, Register?

pavedparadise

@Wald.

I'm trying to see what you see with the verbatim minutes Smith has posted on his Facebook page and I don't. There is not an inkling the City Manager was even aware Huron Park ballfield even existed.

Nicole Ard asked in the future for the commission to give direction to do this as the current practice is to drag the fields at Dorn Community Park and Jaycee Park once each season. Those who utilize the fields during the season drag the fields themselves. Nicole Ard said the city’s grounds maintenance crews are short-handed and the city is currently left with two part-time, seasonal employees. She could pull one employee from the forestry division, but he and a current street department employee are currently performing tree work to address these calls as they are hazards. Nicole Ard said if this is the direction the commission would like to take or if staff should be redirected, consideration should also be given for Kiwanis Park which is utilized by Special Olympics and other leagues.

Left Sandtown

Blues,sorry I`m not a English Major.I went through the Sandusky Public School system.I do know what I am,and I think I know what you have become.

Blues

Cool with me, Left Sandtown. You do know what you are but have half a clue what I am. That says it all.

T. A. Schwanger

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A member from SHS Class of 1998 has contacted the City Manager's Office regarding helping repair Huron Park. Thank you. The more the merrier.

Team Home Depot is 99.9% sure they are doing the project. They are in the process of surveying what they need for repairs to the fence.

One item we are talking about is replacing home plate (there isn't one) and checking to see if the other basis still have anchors in the ground.

As soon as we have a start date for Team Depot ( next two weeks) we will post it on line at our Rejuvenate Sandusky Facebook page or you can contact me a waterfrontwatch@aol.com

lifetimeresident

There is no naming rights. This is Cliff Schirg field. Period.

dorothy gale

I played softball there as a child and teen. Good memories.

OH-IO

It's name is contingent upon whoever puts up the money. Period.

T. A. Schwanger

Problem is if we make all public fields "priority use" reserved for the organizations maintaining the fields, where are the "non-organized sports" children supposed to play?

milemarkerzero

So if they landscape any of the named parks or streets, do they have the rights to those also? Such as Churchwell Park, Seavers Way, the new marina,and so forth.

OH-IO

Yes. It's a very acceptable practice in cities throughout America. We can't be so closed minded about it. If a complany wants to sponsor it and pay for it so be it. Problem solved. Won't cost you as a taxpayer a dime.

Pastor Ron

City workers do not have time to take care of the field? What are they doing with the time they saved by outsourcing the mowing of overgrown lawns to Goodwill? Grass does not grow faster on a baseball field than it does at home!

pavedparadise

I'm trying to find on Commish Smith's Facebook page where the field was scheduled to be addressed and I can't. From the Commission meeting minutes Smith posted, there is not an inkling the City Manager was even aware Huron Park ballfield even existed.

""""Nicole Ard asked in the future for the commission to give direction to do this as the current practice is to drag the fields at Dorn Community Park and Jaycee Park once each season. Those who utilize the fields during the season drag the fields themselves. Nicole Ard said the city’s grounds maintenance crews are short-handed and the city is currently left with two part-time, seasonal employees. She could pull one employee from the forestry division, but he and a current street department employee are currently performing tree work to address these calls as they are hazards. Nicole Ard said if this is the direction the commission would like to take or if staff should be redirected, consideration should also be given for Kiwanis Park which is utilized by Special Olympics and other leagues""".

Translation::: 'If Commission wants the City to drag Huron Park Ball-field like we do Dorn and JC Parks, I (City Manager) needs that direction'. Meaning maintenance of the infield was not on a routine, yearly scheduled--it just got done when someone took notice or complained.

Matt Westerhold

The minutes not posted at the Facebook page continued with this: 

"...Wesley Poole said it is not an incredible burden to get them into playing condition and this should be worked into the schedule. Jeff Smith said everyone assumes this little project is a small one, but little projects add up and the city is down 40 employees from five years ago. We continue to pull one employee from a job to put a band aid on another and we will get to things when we possibly can, but employees are already running around like crazy doing what they have to do. Wesley Poole said with the city having a list as large as it has with no end in sight, the question is not about how much time it will take, it is about what we will do first; if the fields do not get dragged, kids do not play on them at all."

The city delayed the cleanup because it couldn't spare the manpower, but it took a crew about an hour or so, or less, to drag the field. That happened later the same day the Register published an article about the dustup one week after the commission meeting. 

The ball field is situated across from the city greenhouse, which is a part of the park the city does continue to maintain. 

Click the link to read the minutes.

pavedparadise

Nicole Ard asked in the future for the commission to give direction to do this as the current practice is to drag the fields at Dorn Community Park and Jaycee Park once each season.

Translation of City Manager Ard:: 'If Commission wants the City to drag Huron Park Ball-field like we do Dorn and JC Parks, I (City Manager) needs that direction'. Meaning maintenance of the infield was not on a routine, yearly schedule--it just got done when someone took notice or complained.