Monday, February 11, 2013

Further Development at Little League Ball Fields Threatens City Well Field, Destroys Greenspace and Continues the Exclusion of Residents From Public Park Gifted to City!

Prepared Comments Made to
February 11, 2013           

            Last week many people spoke pro and con before this body regarding the addition of lighting at the North Canton Little League Ball Fields. Obvious for most who heard the remarks, the concern is the intrusion that the lights bring to the surrounding neighborhoods along with traffic and parking issues and the noise from crowds and loud speakers that are already disruptive in daylight hours, a disruption that may now extend into the evening and nighttime hours.  

Beyond the obvious intrusions, I think everyone is forgetting the larger picture and that is the fact that the North Canton Little League Ball Field is the site of a City well field. 

The designation of the area as a public park is supposed to prevent development and protect the aquifer below. That is not being considered now, nor has it been considered in the past as many structures have been built on the property by the North Canton Little League during the term of the present lease.  

Protection of the City’s well field should be paramount and development limited as the addition of infrastructures on the property further complicates security of the well field and the underlying aquifer.  

In addition, the property was gifted to North Canton by the Hoover Company to be used as a “Public Park.” Park land brings with it the presumption that it will be maintained as Greenspace to be enjoyed by all of its citizens, not developed with buildings and parking lots with large numbers of people converging and trampling nature with lights ablaze into the nighttime. 

I also have concerns that nineteen acres of public park land have been handed over to a select few for their exclusive use and I am talking about the lease of the property to the group known as the North Canton Little League, most of whom are nonresidents of North Canton.  

The Hoover Company gave the citizens of North Canton this acreage and the terms of the gift state that the property be used exclusively for a “Public Park.”  

There is nothing in the terms of the Hoover gift that says the property can be handed over to a select few to use as they see fit, no matter what their intentions are. 

North Canton residents are being denied the peaceful use of a public park and are losing the Greenspace that the park was intended to provide. 

The exclusion of a great majority of North Canton residents from the entirety of the nineteen acres of property gifted to the city bothers me greatly. My distress over the lease arrangement with the North Canton Little League Board of Directors is heightened by the fact that I have learned that North Canton children are being barred from participating in or using the ball fields for lack of financial resources. 

I have received word from a parent of four children that her kids were not allowed to play at the Little League Ball Fields as they were unable to pay the registration fees demanded by the Little League Board. The parent asked to make payments and was turned down by the President of the Board of Directors. 

How many other children have been denied playing time at the ball field for financial reasons? And to add insult to the hurt for this parent, the parent says at the same time other children were offered scholarships so they could play without payment of registration fees. 

This particular mother is a taxpayer in the city, owns her own home, and her four children attend North Canton City Schools. This individual tells me that she is familiar with numerous parents who can’t afford to play any longer at the North Canton Little League Fields and have chosen other sports options outside the City of North Canton for their children. 

This is supposed to be a “Public Park” but that is not the way it is being run.  

I drive past the North Canton Little League Ball Field without any thought as to what is happening there. The sign at the entrance is titled “Hoover Community Recreation Complex.” 

I have learned that the only recreation going on there is recreation approved by the North Canton Little League Board of Directors, to the exclusion of most North Canton residents including North Canton children whose parents cannot afford the required registration fee to play.  

The request to add lights to the North Canton Little League Ball Fields should be denied for many reasons. I have given you many of those reasons. The opponents who spoke before this body last Monday night gave you many more. 

I ask that you call three strikes on this issue and end the game on the lighting request.

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne

Monday, February 04, 2013

North Canton Neighborhoods Are Under Attack in Many Ways!

Prepared Comments Made to


February 4, 2013 

Neighborhoods in North Canton are under assault. Throughout the city, neighborhoods are dealing with foreclosures and rentals. In my neighborhood, my wife and I have seen the attack on the serenity of our neighborhood escalate. Early last year, an arsonist torched a rental property and due to the close proximity of house next door, two homes were destroyed. 
In the last few months, another rental property, three doors down from my home, was discovered to be a “Meth House.” 
Foreclosures that linger in our neighborhoods, single-family homes that are turned into rentals and multiply up and down streets destroy neighborhoods and drive families out of their homes. This is how communities lose good solid law-abiding citizens. 
But it is not just the activities that I have described that drive away the solid citizens who live in our neighborhoods. There are other more subtle causes. 
The proposed expansion of the activities conducted by the North Canton Little League is an intrusion on the peace and serenity of a neighborhood that can start the decline of a neighborhood.  
In the past, this council has been well aware of the need to maintain peace and tranquility for homeowners.  
Ten years ago, in order to maintain neighborhoods surrounding Arrowhead Golf Course, City Council saw the need to spend $4.2 million and purchased Arrowhead Golf Course to insure peace and tranquility of the surrounding neighborhoods. 
A few years later, City Council acted to ensure that Briar and Weber Streets remained as dead-end streets and were not opened up when the Sanctuary subdivision was developed. There have been other streets that have remained dead ends. The residents of Grassmere Street did not want their street opened up into Monticello. A street in Surrey Hill subdivision was kept a dead end to maintain peace and tranquility at the request of residents. 
In each instance, City Council heard the concerns of the residents and acted to protect homeowners from unwanted intrusions in to their neighborhood. 
Why is it now that residents surrounding the East Maple Street Little League Ball Fields are not given the same protections that have been afforded many other North Canton neighborhoods?  
            The fact of the matter is that the neighborhoods surrounding the North Canton Little League Ball Fields have received little support from the Administration or City Council in their effort to maintain the serenity of their homes and yards.  
Parking issues in violation of the current lease have been flagrant for years. I myself have driven down East Maple Street and phoned in blatant parking violations when games are played. I do not live adjacent to the ball fields but I have heard from many residents regarding the intrusive use of loudspeakers during little league games. 
All of these intrusions destroy the peaceful atmosphere nearby residents should be able to enjoy. It does not take many intrusions such as this to push residents out of their homes and out of North Canton.  
The activities conducted by the North Canton Little League have exceeded the intent and purpose of the gift made to the City of North Canton.  
It is a little league ball field intended for North Canton Little Leaguers. It was never envisioned to be Candlestick Park.  
The property is also on the site of a well field that deserves protection from activities that could harm the underlying aquifer. 
How can the security of the well field be maintained when numerous structures are built, light poles implanted, and additional parking installed to accommodate hundreds of automobiles? 
What about the Greenspace that is being obliterated in the process? 
I have a problem with the fact that 19 acres of public property have been given to a select group of individuals for their exclusive use.  
Under the terms of the quit-claim deed gifting the property from the Hoover Company to the City of North Canton, the property was to be used “…exclusively for a public park and/or any other public use consistent herewith….” 
Leasing the entire 19 acres to individuals at the exclusion of North Canton residents seemingly violates the terms of that gift from the Hoover Company.  
How many little leaguers who play at the ball field are actual residents of North Canton? 
I urge this council to deny any further expansion of activities at the North Canton Little League Ball Field and further urge that the Administration enforce all the terms of the current lease. 
Lastly, I would like to commend the principals of the North Canton Little League for their efforts in providing organized sports for our youngsters but it cannot come at the expense of the peace and serenity of the residents and neighborhoods of North Canton.

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne
Resident, City of North Canton