North Lewisburg Village Council does not allow use of ball fields


Health concerns appear to have ensured that no organized baseball or softball will be played in the village of North Lewisburg in 2020.
The Triad Junior Baseball and Softball Association made a request to North Lewisburg Council to be allowed to use the village ball fields for a fall league and tournament beginning in September.
Mayor Cheryl Hollingsworth brought the request to council at Tuesday night’s meeting. She said she had concerns over the request because of the trends in Champaign County coronavirus cases.
Hollingsworth noted that total cases in late July were in 90s but jumped to more than 170 in the most recent August numbers.
“I just don’t want any child to get sick,” Hollingsworth said.
The mayor said she had concerns that health department recommendations about masks, social distancing, temperature checks and sanitizing could be met for such a youth league.
Council member Robin Street noted that ball leagues in Urbana and Raymond are moving forward. Member Gwen Beech added that she had seen soccer programs in West Liberty in full operation, with virus safety guidelines in place.
Street said she wants children to be able to get outside and have a sense of normalcy but she worries about the cost.
Council member Jennifer Ohashi she was concerned about the sharing of gear, such as catcher’s equipment, that accompanies youth baseball and softball. She also asked if the league would just be for Triad School District students, noting that if teams from other areas participated, it could lead to a spread of the virus from one community to another.
Council member John Collier asked who would be responsible for enforcing the safety measures. Hollingworth said the organization’s coaches would be responsible, rather than any representative of the village.
Hollingsworth said the organization and the village currently do not have an agreement for the 2020 year. With the virus outbreak in March, the traditional contract between the village and the group was not signed.
The mayor also noted that the ball organization would also have to provide proof of a new insurance plan before moving forward.
In the end it didn’t matter as no motion was made by the council members to allow the league to use the fields.
“I don’t feel I have enough information to make a good decision,” Collier said.
North Lewisburg Village Police Chief Scott Bodey said incidents of cufew violations are on the rise through the summer months.
“It’s something we will stay on top of,” Bodey said.
The chief said juveniles under the age of 15 are to be home by 10 p.m., while those 16 and 17 may be out until 11 p.m. Special exemptions are in place for juveniles who are working.
Bodey said in many instances the youths are sneaking out of their houses, but his department is moving forward with holding parents accountable. He said the department has one youth with a repeat violation and his agency is pursuing a citation again the parents in that case.
In other business, council:
•Approved rescinding the $1 yardsale fee for September and October to allow residents to hold individual yard sales. The move was made because no organized community-wide sale will be held.
•Learned that the police department is starting to acquire a collection of discarded bicycles. Bodey urged parents of children who have lost their bikes to check with his department.

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