Lower Perkiomen Little League President Kirk Kirkman made a presentation to the Perkiomen Valley School Board requesting approval for proposed improvements to a Skippack Elementary School ball field, which would be used for softball, at the board's Feb. 4 meeting.
LPLL would pay for roughly $35,000 in improvements including a dugout, putting in fencing around the first and third base foul lines, temporary fencing in the outfield and a scoreboard.
Currently, LPLL uses fields in Palmer Park in Skippack Township, which connects with Skippack Elementary. The league uses the Skippack Elementary grounds, which LPLL calls fields six and seven.
If the school board passes a motion to permit the improvements to field six, it will be considered a “donation” to the district. The league hopes to have the improvements finished by the the 2013-2014 season.
Kirkman said that the league has invested roughly $100,000 in the Palmer Park fields, and the improved facilities have increased participation with the Little League, which servie primarily Perkiomen Valley School District children – the number of players has almost doubled in the past six years.
Kirkman said improving the field is important due to the growth, and also to give the girls an opportunity to participate on the main fields.
Board president Lori Snyder questioned the permanent nature of the improvements.
“I see a point when the district might need that land,” Snyder said.
“I feel so strongly about bring the girls in the main field, I would take the risk,” Kirkman said.
Several members had specific questions, including additional costs of mowing the grass around the fences and the possibility of advertising on school property.
Kirkland said that the LPLL had a staff member to cut grass around the fields, and that ads are only placed on the fields in Palmer Park.
Members also questioned if the improvements would make the Little League entitled to the fields over students. According to Perkiomen Valley School District Business Administrator Jim Weaver, LPLL works well with the district and currently follows all of the rules and regulations of an organization that uses the district’s facilities.
Weaver also said that the league worked closely with district personnel in designing the improvements.
By the end of the discussion, members seemed supportive of the proposal for building – board member Gerry Barnefiher called it a “win-win.”
Kirkman also requested that the school board partner in the construction by donating upwards of $3,500 for bleachers around the new dugout.
Several members stated that, given the current budgetary shortfall, contributing anything towards the bleachers could be an issue.
“If [the PVSD donation] is off the table, our desire to move forward is not off the table,” Kirkman said.
This issue will be included on the Feb. 11 meeting so that construction can begin right away, if approved.