Landrum Sports Association opposes sale of Palmetto Field

Published 8:30 am Monday, August 9, 2004

The Landrum Youth Sports Association has told city officials that it does not want to sell Palmetto Field in order to build a new, city owned ballfield complex.

The sports association held a community meeting last Thursday. Most attendees said they had worked too hard to own the Palmetto Field, located off Earle St. in downtown Landrum, and did not want to lose the investment.

The City of Landrum has proposed seeking a grant to build an approximately $1 million ballfield complex at the city&squo;s former lagoon compound, which would be used by the sports association. In return for building the complex, the city has asked the sports association to sell its current fields in order to pay the matching grant funds, estimated at $190,000.

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Sports association members propose keeping Palmetto Field and building two ballfields at the compound instead of the proposed four to reduce costs. With that option, the sports association would be responsible for matching funds of almost $119,000.

Landrum councilman Billy Inman said having two locations for the program defeats the purpose. He said one of the city&squo;s goals is to give the sports association one location with room to grow. The compound property is more than 13 acres and the city is proposing four ballfields, including a soccer/football field. Currently, only baseball is played at Palmetto Field. Youth football is played at the former high school.

Robert Farmer with the sports association said the sports program can no longer grow at Palmetto Field, but people have a real problem with giving up the asset and not owning the new property.

&dquo;I see other youth (programs) that don&squo;t own their property and right now we don&squo;t have anybody to tell us we can&squo;t play a game or can&squo;t turn the lights off,&dquo; Farmer said. &dquo;I do feel like we need (the new fields), but not without ownership. You don&squo;t know where we&squo;re going to be 10 years from now.&dquo;

City council and sports association members agreed to work on another plan that would include the association&squo;s ownership of the property. The sports association set a tentative date of Feb. 7 for another public meeting to be held at the school.

A grant application will be on hold until a new agreement can be made. The deadline to apply for the grant is this spring, so the entities will have until then to come up with a new plan.