By Luke Britt/Editor
The Arnett Smith Ballpark will soon be the property of the Town of Farmerville after the Town Council voted on Monday to annex the ballpark.
The Council also voted to cooperate with a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) effort collect the heads of deer taken during the fall hunting season and voted to seek estimates for the cost of building permanent bathrooms near the walking track at the Willie Davis Jr. Recreation Center.
In other business, the Council approved a donation of $3,000 to support Zion Hill Baptist Church’s annual effort to provide school supplies to needy families and voted to re-hire the Arkansas accounting firm Maxwell Certified Public Accountants as the town’s auditor.
The meeting wrapped up after Public Works Director Keith Jeselink delivered his monthly report, which was highlighted by the completion of repairs to water Life Station No. 6.
The Arnett Smith Ballpark has been managed by a Board of Directors since its construction and that arrangement will not change. Currently, the ballpark is used by the Dixie Youth Baseball for only four months a year. Transferring ownership of the ballpark to the town will facilitate the development of sports programs other than baseball, such as soccer and flag football.
“As a municipality the town can obtain grants that a private program isn’t eligible for,” Mayor John Crow said. “It’s a great park and we can take what it does for the community to the next level.”
The mayor said the ballpark will generate revenue for the community by hosting tournaments, not only for baseball but for other sports that will be developed.
The LDWF has been creating drop-off points around the state where hunters can leave the heads of recently killed deer so the department can test the animals for chronic wasting disease.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease that afflicts the deer species and is 100 percent fatal. CWD-infected deer may exhibit signs of weight loss and emaciation, excessive salivation, frequent drinking and urination, incoordination, circling and lack of fear of people.
Although CWD has not been shown to be contagious to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend against the human consumption of deer known to be infected with CWD. Also, it is recommended that people hunting in areas known to harbor CWD-infected deer have their deer tested for the disease prior to consuming the animals.
With the town’s permission, the LDWF will place a cold storage unit where hunters can drop off deer heads and obtain an anonymous sample number. The LDWF will test the carcasses for CWD and post the results online so hunters can, using their sample number, learn whether their kill is infected with the disease.
Councilman Thomas Nation petitioned other council members to consider constructing permanent bathrooms near the walking track at the Willie Davis Jr. Recreation Center. The portable toilet currently available near the track is insufficient, Nation said.
“We all know what portable toilets are like,” Nation said. “A lot of people are using the track now, and I think for their convenience and safety we should build an actual bathroom.”
The Council voted to obtain cost estimates for the project and to revisit the issue once they know what it will cost.
Lift Station No. 6
In his monthly public works report, Jeselink told the Council that the rehabilitation of Lift Station No. 6 is complete. The lift station supplies water to more than 1,200 families living near the north side of Lake D’Arbonne. The project involved installing new pumps and modern electronics that will, among other things, allow the Water Department to more effectively monitor the lift station’s operations, Jeselink said.
Jeselink also reported that storms in June and heavy rain, thus far, in July have slowed progress on some schedule projects because work crews were reassigned to clean up storm debris. Union Parish received more than six inches of rain in June, about 30 percent more than usual, according to the National Weather Service.
“Anytime you make a plan, the one thing you know for sure is that it won’t go exactly as you hope,” Jeselink said.
Jeselink praised the town’s public works employees’ efforts, and thanked the Farmerville Fire Department for assisting with the cleanup.