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Woman asks why no lights at Ray Jewell Park

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By Shannon Brock

A Spencer County woman appeared before the Fiscal Court on Monday morning hoping to bring light to the darkness at the baseball fields at Ray Jewell Park.

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Anita Meadows, whose granddaughter plays youth baseball, asked her magistrate, Mike Moody, to have her put on the meeting agenda in hopes of getting an answer to the question of how long it might take to get poles and lights installed at the park.
Meadows recalled the league years ago when her older grandchild played in the league. She spoke of the immense community support, which is now lacking.
“[My granddaughter] Meadow came here to play tee ball,” Meadows said. “This time is was like a step back in time. I came back for the first ball game and it was totally different ... It was so disconcerting. I wanted to know where everybody went. It was like everybody had forgotten the youth.”
Meadows pointed out that several years ago, UPS donated light poles to be used at the fields. However, those light poles remain horizontal on the ground next to one of the fields to this day.
According to Spencer Magnet archives, the poles were delivered to Ray Jewell Park in September 2009.
Almost exactly a year later, in September 2010, then-Parks Director Randy Wise and volunteer Bob Whiteley poured the concrete needed to support the poles.
However, since that point, little has been done to put the poles to use.
Meadows told the court she had heard the county had filed for a grant to obtain funding to put up the poles, but said waiting to hear back about that funding was not a sufficient solution.
Karrer confirmed that the county applied for a grant in April, but said it could be months before the county gets a response.
Meadows questioned the time it took for the county to seek funding for the poles.
“It took you two years to file for a grant?” she asked, referencing the time Karrer was in office before applying for the grant.
Karrer said he could not speak on behalf of the prior administration, but said when the grant monies became available, he applied for them.
“So, I’m to tell my granddaughter she has to wait?” Meadows asked.
“Sadly, that’s true,” Karrer replied.
“I’m sorry, judge. That’s just not good enough,” Meadows said before turning and leaving the meeting.
After Meadows walked out, Magistrate Hobert Judd asked why the road department staff couldn’t be used to install the poles.
“I realize the running of electricity would be expensive,” Judd said. “But we’ve used our road department to do various things for the county ... can we use them for this?”
Karrer said he didn’t know the answer to that question because he wasn’t sure if the department had the proper equipment needed to install the lights and the poles. However, Karrer said he would inquire with Road Foreman Todd Burch and see if it would be possible.
As of Monday afternoon, the poles were nearly covered by tall grasses next one of the fields at the park.