Charleston eyes baseball field maintenance

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 8/15/18

Charleston resident Chris Cassada and some of his friends made the Charleston City Commission an offer they couldn't refuse.Cassada and a friend are coaches of a couple of youth baseball teams. They …

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Charleston eyes baseball field maintenance

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Charleston resident Chris Cassada and some of his friends made the Charleston City Commission an offer they couldn't refuse.

Cassada and a friend are coaches of a couple of youth baseball teams. They were in dire need of a practice facility.

The youth coaches said they will provide upkeep and maintenance of the baseball field adjacent to the Charleston Municipal Building. Cassada emphasized usage will only be for practice, not league play or tournaments.

He said the offer would free the city's maintenance crew from work on the diamond, and provide improvements.

The original offer at Tuesday evening's commission meeting was for exclusive use of the field, which members did not favor.

Mayor Walter Goode and Commissioners Donna McDermott and Frankie McCartney want to keep the field available for other groups.

The offer from the two coaches was amended. They will provide work on the field in exchange for its use for practice.

Melvin Graham, Charleston Street and Maintenance supervisor, will continue to coordinate field use. 

All three commission members approved the agreement with Cassada's group.

In other commission business:

• McCartney informed colleagues he has been researching the city's need for additional mosquito control. He said there are grants available to help. City Recorder Janet Newport pointed out the problem is greater this year, due to excessive rainfall.

• Tuesday's meeting opened with the selection of a city mayor, coming on the heels of the recent election. Goode was once again the unanimous selection of the three officials.

"I want to thank the residents of Charleston, for giving me four more years in office," Goode said. This year, he defeated two challengers in the recent balloting.

• Minutes of July's meeting were approved, as well as the city's financial report. Charleston's fund balance at the end of the fiscal year (June 30) was around $180,000, which remained at $185,861.58 at the end of July.

• Goode and colleagues have been concerned about repairs to the city's ton-and-a-half truck, which has been in the shop for an extended period of time. Newport said the truck will be picked up this week, even if it is not satisfactorily repaired.

• McCartney discussed plans for the city to provide a dumpster for residents to place grass clippings and other yard debris. One was provided in the spring, and was a big success.

• Commissioners will look into the need for a no-wake area in the Hiwassee River, near the Charleston boat dock. 

"We've been getting complaints (concerning river traffic)" said Goode. He added that the traffic is interfering with fishing and rafting.

Graham, the maintenance supervisor, has been doing some work at the dock. He is planning to install a toilet in the men's restroom. He hopes to get some repair on the road, is checking into a broken light at the pavilion, and said  a number of limbs have been brought down by storms.

Graham has also been busy with considerable mowing throughout the city.

• McDermott wanted to discuss the process of entering into  condemnation proceedings for overgrown property in the city.

City Manager Caroline Geren and Newport said such condemnation usually concerns unpaid property taxes, which is a long, drawn-out procedure to a tax sale.

For this, and other issues, a letter is sent to the property owner, followed by a certified letter. With no response, the property owner is then cited to court.

• Commissioners are planning a mural on the wall of the pavilion at Hoyt Berry City Park.

Goode has talked to one artist about the proposed project, which he hopes can be a history-related. Commissioners hope school students will join in the effort.

The city will provide the paint.

• McDermott is still interested in the city exploring the possibility of purchasing a downtown building from the Bradley County Community Service Agency for a community center.

They had pretty much placed the issue on a back-burner, due to the anticipated cost of renovation. But, the building is still available.

"They still want to sell it, and I believe it would be a very good purchase for Charleston," said McDermott. "Other people would also like to see it happen," she added.

City officials touched on the possibility of obtaining a grant, or grants, to help. "There's some out there, if we shake the bushes," said the mayor.

• Commissioners will be moving ahead in an effort to solicit assistance with upkeep and maintenance of the old Charleston cemetery.

• Commissioners approved a number of adjustment requests from City Manager Geren, to balance out last year's fiscal year budget.

• Police Chief Johnny Stokes is under the weather with pneumonia, and was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting.

He was planning to join new Bradley County 911 Director Sherri Maxfield in discussion of 911's new computer system, and Charleston's involvement.

Maxfield was at the meeting. She said the system will go into operation next week.

"I'm looking forward to working with Johnny, and it'll be great for Charleston," she said.

The system will allow Charleston officers to do more from their patrol vehicles.


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