By Julie Ann Madden
Living next to a park or ball field can be an asset but it is also a liability for nearby homeowners.
That is the message that Charles and Diane Von Hagel of Akron told Akron councilors at their March 28 meeting.
The Von Hagels’ requested city officials consider installing a 6 feet tall “Cyclone” chain-link fence along the west side of the Lefty Swift and Bob Tucker ball fields.
Not only children but adults are going between the Von Hagels’ home and their neighbor’s — using their yard as a shortcut to the ball fields and adjoining playground.
In addition, garbage people leave at the ball fields and playground is blowing into their yards — not just during ball seasons but all year-round now that there is a playground, said Charles.
Furthermore, when teams are practicing in an east-west formation, players come into their yard to retrieve balls.
We have a 4 feet retaining wall, explained Diane. The children are either riding their bikes down the slope from the ball fields, along their retaining wall in an area about the width of an I-beam and down the side of the yard to Country Club Drive. Children also jump off the retaining wall and/or ride their bikes off the retaining wall into their yard and garden as they pass through to Country Club Drive.
“I checked with my insurance man and I’m liable if anyone gets hurt on my property,” said Charles. “If I post ‘No Trespassing’ signs, I’m still liable if someone gets hurt.”
“I’m asking you to put up a 6-foot Cyclone fence around your property,” he told the council and Mayor Sharon Frerichs, “and make them go around to the north or south.”
A 4 feet fence won’t be high enough — they will just climb over it, he added.
“I know I’m pretty much talking to the wall,” said Charles about his request. “It won’t happen.”
“You folks put in a park above me,” said Charles. “It wasn’t there when I bought my property so don’t tell me to find a realtor like you (told another before).”
“We appreciate the park for the kids,” said Diane. “It’s great for that area so kids aren’t crossing (Iowa Highway 3) but it’s becoming alarming to us homeowners.”
She explained their retaining walls consists of two concrete walls.
“Kids are innocent,” said Diane. “They don’t know (the dangers). I understand it.”
It’s almost become a designated path to the park and fields, she said.
The kids just ride through and turn and wave at me when I try to stop them, Charles added. “If you put up a fence, it would deter them from coming through any of the properties and make them go around the way they are supposed to go to get to the ball field and park.”
“I thought they were doing a good job of cleaning up after the games,” said Frerichs.
Councilor Gerry Stowers asked whose responsibility was cleanup.
“The city,” said City Clerk Melea Nielsen. “It’s common courtesy the spectators would pick up the trash and the city empties the trash.”
“With the playground up there, there are always kids,” said Charles.
Frerichs instructed City Administrator Dan Rolfes to look into the matter.
“We’ll do a little investigating and spread the word,” said Frerichs.
Country Club Lane residents also complained about drivers speeding down the gravel road along the north edge of the Akron Golf Course, along the drainage ditch between Iowa Highway 12 and Country Club Drive.
Rolfes told them it wasn’t a plotted road, and Frerichs instructed Assistant Police Chief Tad Stansbury to patrol the area.
Police Car Without
It was noted the reserve police car doesn’t have license plates on it.
“So is it for sale?” asked Von Hagel.
Frerichs told him to ask in a month.