Council looks into ballpark upgrades

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The Sealy City Council last week agreed to contribute to upgrades at B&PW Park and lift a temporary hiring freeze in order to fully staff the Public Works Department.

Joel Grigar, representing the Greater Sealy Little League, requested assistance from the city in making safety and logistical upgrades at B&PW Park. The council ultimately agreed to authorize City Attorney Lora Lensch to work up a contract that would allow the city to turn over ownership of the park restrooms to the Little League, in order to allow them to make changes. City staff also agreed to provide more information to council about road closures during games and other events at the park.

The league intends to make some adjustments, such as moving up the scorers’ table and instalingl a steel structure to reconfigure the area and improve the dugout, Grigar said. A grant will help pay for those upgrades.

“There’s a big void between the outer perimeter fence and home plate,” he said. “It’s just kind of dead space and it keeps the fans farther away from the game.”

Safety measures also must be considered for parents and youth during games, Grigar added. He proposed adding chain-link fencing around the softball field and adding gates.

“If you’ve been out there on game nights, there’s a lot of small kids,” he said. “In general we have a nice atmosphere out there. It’s a nice family atmosphere … but in the middle of all that we have a road that, at times can be high traffic in the middle of those games. Weekly we have near-misses … It’s not if, it’s when. Something’s going to happen.”

Grigar asked if the council would support closing the road during game times.

Additionally he requested upgrades to the park restrooms.

“We get the bad news about once a week on the women’s restroom because it floods,” Grigar said. “It’s not very welcoming or nice. It looks like a jail or a prison facility.”

He suggested reaching an agreement on ownership of the property so the League can reconstruct it – “commercial grade, maybe not industrial grade.”

“I’m shooting for Buc-ees,” Grigar said. “It would still be a public restroom, but we would own it, which gives us more flexibility in the design.”

In other matters the City Council:

• Lifted a temporary spending freeze in order to hire employees for the Public Works Department. Interim City Manager Warren Escovy explained that a temporary freeze was placed on new hires and purchases of non-essential items such as furniture, but council agreed to go forward with filling open positions in order to not have a lapse in service. A budget meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 16, but canceled due to inclement weather.

• Tabled a presentation from the Sealy Chamber of Commerce and Visitor and Convention Center on its quarterly report.

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