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Letter to the Editor: Keep softball diamond as city property

Posted: Mon, Mar 20, 2017 5:15 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor has been submitted by Dale Kittleson of Decorah):

"I would encourage the City of Decorah to remain strong with regard to not selling the softball diamond property to the school district.

I understand the school district's need to replace the existing elementary building and also the strong desire to keep the new building near the high school. However, I believe the city would be wise to consider future uses for the property that, once sold, would be lost.

Several years ago I was involved with a group of citizens who were discussing ideas for a permanent Farmers Market structure and while this particular property was determined to not be ideal for that, many other exciting possibilities were brought forth for this space. The ideas of a Central Park, bike trail hub, public restrooms, outdoor classroom, band shell and others were talked about. Any of these would be a benefit to the city and the public in general, but only if the land remains in the hands of the city.

In any change of this scale there is bound to be some compromise. I don't know where the ball field will eventually end up. Is there any possibility the school diamond could be used for the games that now are held at the softball field?  Is it an insurance issue?  Can we look at getting a different insurance?  And why can't the new school be built where the tennis courts are now?  Yes, they are new, and it may seem like a waste initially to dig up recent work, but there is plenty of room to build there and there are other courts available for the tennis team.  Again, compromise. 

Once the existing building is removed a new playground can be built with plenty of green space to satisfy any state requirements. During the time the new building is being built and the existing building is being torn down  the kids can be sent to North Winn. The school was willing to spend $700,000 to buy the the city property. Save that money, build on the tennis court land and call it a win."