Friends of Hole Field looks to give practice field a face lift


By Meladi Brewer

VERSAILLES — Friends of Hole Field are concerned for the students’ safety regarding the practice field conditions.

The practice field, located by the water treatment plant, is based on a floodplain, so filling in the area with dirt to level the ground out is against regulations and violated federal mandates. Therefore, the field is slanted and full of holes that make the conditions harsh and potentially provide a liability.

“If you’re running a play where the quarterback passes the ball, it is not safe,” Village Administrator Kyle Francis said. “If you’re running forward while looking back and you hit one of those holes, it just isn’t safe.”

The school and Friends of Hole Field have been conversing for a while on how to make the field better. Right now the field “does a mean lean” with everything from the railroad tracks to the creek running down hill pretty steep.

“When you’re having football practice, it makes it hard because if you throw the ball, you’re throwing downhill while kids are running uphill,” Francis said. “The other thing is we have a lot of flooding issues.”

Francis said the ground is all tore up. They are not looking at adding dirt, but asked if they could regrade it. This would be a safe way to level out the field, get rid of the holes, and still fall within the guidelines.

“I did talk to the Darke County Engineer Jim Surber who kind of has jurisdiction. He said as long as you’re not adding dirt, you can regrade in that floodplain area as long as you don’t have a net increase where you shoving water somewhere else,” Francis said.

He said Surber looked at their plan and was comfortable with it. Ted with Friends of Hole Field spoke to council regarding the matter, and he said the main reason for wanting to move forward with this project is the safety of the young men.

“Having played out there many years ago, it is time to level it up. It will be nowhere near what the game field would be because we can’t add any dirt,” Tom said.

Currently the field from one corner of the endzone to the opposite corner of the other endzone is a five foot three inch fall.

“That fall is not consistent. It is a wavy mess,” Ted said.

The dips in the field are a liability concern all the way around. Ted said it is crazy where it is at, but the players have done a great job making due.

“It will still have fall, but we are trying to just make it a smoother transition,” Ted said.

They would also like to move the field 20 feet over to get it out of the tree line and water line. They will also irrigate the field with the new water pump that was put in last year with the field. It takes water from the creak and uses field house electricity, so it is at not cost to the village. The irrigation help water the field to keep the ground softer and grass thicker.

“From an injury standpoint it is kind of a win win,” Ted said.

Francis said that is they could irrigate the field better to keep the grass thicker and last longer, so there is less repair. The field currently has about a foot of topsoil, and they will be short in some areas.

“They are going to try and strip the topsoil before they start shoving dirt,” Francis said. “I did tell them that if they do haul out some loads of junk, Midmark is getting rid of topsoil right now, they may be able to get some dirt for them.”

He said as long as the junk going out is equivalent to the new topsoil coming in, the amount balances out and would be ok for the project. Ted himself is familiar with the floodplain and construction, so he would be a beneficial asset to the project.

“Depending on when Brumbaugh Construction can get in, we would do the project in the spring or late fall,” Ted said. “Fields of Hole Field would take care of the seeding, the grading, and the irrigation for the school.”

The superintendent, athletic director, and coach met with Friends of Hole Field and is on board with the project. Francis said he did not see an issue with this project, as it is not utilizing tax payer or utility money for the project.

“It’s actually helping liability because we are taking care of this before it happens,” Francis said.

The Village Council chambers are located at the Versailles Fire/ EMS Station, 320 Baker Road. Village Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday’s of each month at 7:00 p.m. Council meetings are always open to the public.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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