Rec Board recommends baseball field name change

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Baseball field No.3 at Custenborder Field may have a new name.

The Sidney Recreation Board, during its recent meeting, voted to make a recommendation to Sidney City Council to rename the field “Tim Clayton’s Field.” Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier presented the recommendation to City Council Monday. Council will consider the recommendation on May 29.

Gaier said Sidney’s Amateur Baseball Commission (SABC) President Mike Cole reached out to the city last month to consider changing the name of the field, which in years past was called field “B.” Cole informed the board the honor would come after 30 years of Clayton’s involvement with the baseball program. He also said this summer will be Clayton’s last season on the baseball diamond.

Along with Cole’s letter, letters of recommendation were also submitted by Sidney’s Athletic Director Mitch Hoying; fellow coach, past treasurer and friend of Clayton, Darrin Davis; and current SABC Vice President Dan Dicke.

“After three decades … every step of the way, (Clayton) has been mentoring not only the members of the (SABC) association, but as the letters (of support) reflect, a lot of kids have gone through that program. And there is no way for me to even put together how many thousands have went through there,” Cole said. “He’s probably got more time on that field there than anybody I know. He’s always down there. He’ll put the field together; put the bases out. His genuine concern was the program itself and how to help kids.”

Board Chair Tim Bickel said he could not recall the board receiving three stronger letters of recommendation. Board Secretary Mary Jannides agreed.

“Tim always said, ‘Hey, you guys don’t have to get the field ready for us. We’re going to be down (to work on it).’ And he goes down there with rakes and levels things out and packs the home plate in and gets the base paths ready. He did all the work for his junior Jackets,” Gaier said. “He did a lot of that work in the early season when (parks and recreation department) weren’t because we don’t get fields ready for practice, we only get them ready for games. And so he was out there doing all that work himself.”

“It wasn’t nothing for him to pay for stuff out of his pocket. When it comes to Sidney Amateur Baseball, any meeting, any function we have for Sidney Amateur Baseball, Tim was there. And, I think his son, the last year he played was in the early ’90s,” Cole said. “And we were never without the equipment. All of the equipment was prepped. It was sanitized. It was ready to be handed out the day we handed out equipment. That was one thing I never had to worry about.”

In other business, the board also discussed:

• The final revision of the Rotary/Kiwanis inclusive play area. The Rotary and Kiwanis donation of at least $10,000 per group for the inclusive play area which will be installed at Geib Pavilion at Tawawa Park next to the existing five-year-old play structure. Funds for the project estimated to cost about $140,000 will come from Rotary, Kiwanis, private donors, corporations, local small businesses, individuals, and some grant opportunities.

The area will be about 90-feet by 60-feet and include a poured rubber mat, with pieces to include arch swing, merry-go-all, music panels, rock-n-raft, sensory wave and swing set.

Gaier said after consulting with a therapist at the Shelby County Board of Development Disabilities, the structure will also include two areas of shade, a concrete walk up to the rock-n-raft structure to make it ADA compliant, and a roller table with rollers for building up-body strength.

When asked for her opinion, Jennifer Bertke, a parent of a child that uses the inclusive play area at New Bremen Park responded to Bickel she thought it looked great, the shade was a good idea and that it was an “amazing start.”

Gaier said fundraising should begin soon, and hope to have enough funds by next year to install the new play area.

• The Cargill grant application for completing the bike/walking path trail from where it ends under Interstate 75 to Kuther Road. Gaier said Cargill expressed interest in wanting to assist with the project. The application has be submitted, he said, and although he hadn’t received confirmation yet, believes the city will receive a significant grant from the business for that portion of the trail.

• A request for at least one pickle ball court at Robert O. New Park. A pickle ball court, Gaier said, is like a tennis court, but with different painted lines and permanent net. He noted the area where the court could be located would in danger of becoming flooded at times. Gaier said unless the inquiring group finds the money for the project, the city currently doesn’t have funds available to the court.

Also, it was noted the Sidney pool has enough lifeguards to open, but the city would like to hire more if possible.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.