EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Two years ago, new baseball and softball fields were built at Beaver Local but the students still haven’t played a single game on them.
Bill Pancake, Jr., a parent, spent the better part of the last five months investigating and trying to find out what went wrong.
“The school says the field’s playable. The field is not playable. The reason the field is not playable is because of the safety issues on the field, of the debris that is buried in the fields,” he said.
The fields are built over the old middle school building. There are fist-sized rocks, wood, tile, glass, and other material from the old building littering the infield and pitcher’s mound.
“Pretty much what we were left with was a construction dump, is what it is,” Bill said.
So far, the district has hired three different contractors to clear debris from the field and reseed the grass.
But Bill said it has to do more.
“If you walk out there with a shovel and you see a piece of dead grass and you hit it, it’s concrete.”
That’s exactly what Bill did. On Sunday, he dug up several rocks the size of dinner plates just a few inches beneath the field.
“That’s blacktop and that’s everywhere,” he said. “It’s not the first time I’ve dug that up.”
Bill presented his case to the school board Monday night.
A man in the crowd asked if they could start working on solutions but board member Greg Eisenhart said, “Not now.”
Board member Patrick Clutter walked out of the meeting and apologized to Bill, saying he wasn’t aware of the problem.
Other board members had no comment.
Bill doesn’t lay all the blame on the school board, though. He said the previous school superintendent ignored the problem, too.
I’m doing it because I’ve been in the community, my family’s been here forever and I’m passionate about our school district and I don’t think it was done correctly…I’m doing it for our kids.”
He said last season was tough on the softball team, who played most of their games away and some on a youth field.
Right now, Bill said he doesn’t have a solution but is committed to seeing this through.