By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review
At Monday’s Park and Recreation meeting, Marathon County Parks Department Director Jamie Polley told the committee that the Wausau Youth Baseball League and Newman High School have expressed interest in establishing a baseball complex in Wausau. She suggested to the groups that they do a feasibility study, soil analysis, and cost estimates as the next step in this process. The committee agreed.
John Halsted, of the Wausau Youth Baseball and Softball league, told the committee Brockmeyer Park is the only appropriate location. He clarified that there are four diamonds at Wausau elementary schools the group had been using that are being closed. He stated that Sunnyvale needs refurbishment and is designed for softball, not baseball. As to size, he suggested perhaps three to five diamonds would be appropriate.
One issue is that the fields at Brockmeyer are currently being used for soccer. So, soccer would need to relocate were the project to go through.
Weston is looking to build a softball complex. An alternative to that would be refurbishing Sunnyvale. If Weston does build a new softball complex, it may not be viable for Wausau to keep the Sunnyvale complex for softball. Thus, once a decision is made with Weston, the Sunnyvale site may become an option for a possible baseball complex.
Committee member Neal brought up public concern about the dioxin contamination at Riverside Park. Committee Chair Peckham said he wanted to wait for toxicologist’s response before acting. Peckham also said he contacted a hydrologist from Natural Resources for advice on testing and was told the DNR does not serve as an environmental consultant. Thus, they would need to seek this through an independent source.
Citizens for a Clean Wausau representative Tom Kilian spoke. He said there are multiple samples in multiple areas of neighborhood that exceed residential state soil standards for dioxins and furans, and state law is clear on how this should be handled. Committee member Neal stressed that this committee’s purview is limited to the parks. Kilian countered that the committee could help get the ball rolling and encourage the appropriate parties to act.