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Council needs Solomon’s wisdom

By Staff | Nov 23, 2012

Where is King Solomon when we need him?

You remember that Biblical story, don’t you?

When two women both claimed a baby was theirs, King Solomon called for a sword and said the only fair thing to do was to cut the baby in half.

One of the women cried out and begged Solomon not to do it, and give the child to the other woman.

Instead, he gave it to the one willing to give up the baby, knowing she must be the real mother.

Perhaps the Blue Earth City Council could use the King Solomon approach to the problem they are facing with a piece of land on the fairgrounds that two groups both want.

Both the Blue Earth Area Baseball Association and the Faribault County Fair Board want the land in question.

The baseball group wants to build a new ballfield there, while the fair board wants the land for expanding an area in front of the grandstand and for staging of events (parking for demolition derby cars and pit crews, moto cross units and, well, you get the idea).

The City Council already tried the King Solomon solution by saying they wanted to split the land and have both groups get half.

Well, maybe not half, but at least they would have to share it.

However, neither group has cried out saying ‘keep the baby whole’ and they will give up rights to it.

After Monday’s City Council meeting, it became apparent that sharing it might not be an option either.

Let’s revisit the matter one more time. As previously stated, both sides make a good, valid point.

There are, indeed, two baseball fields already in the vicinity. So, yes, it would make sense to add one more if one more is needed.

There is also the fact that a ballfield once was located there, and a promise made to replace it, should the go kart track cease to exist.

On the other hand, this is also a city-owned park that is, and for 151 years has been used by the fair each summer. So, yes, it would make a lot of sense that if the fair board is going to expand the grandstand events, that the area would be needed for the fair.

That means both sides make a legitimate point for using the land in question.

Now, it is up to the City Council to make a decision. Whose baby is it?

But wait, there’s more.

While both sides have a dream for what they want to do with the land, and say they desperately need it, there doesn’t seem to be a solid plan.

There seems to be more questions than answers.

For instance. While the baseball group wants to build a field, there is no solid plan on how its construction will be funded, who will actually own it, or who will pay for the maintenance.

Currently the city splits maintenance of the baseball and softball fields with the school and the other groups who use the fields.

However, the school has indicated that they are not interested in participating in the cost of construction, or cost of maintenance, of another field.

Another for instance.

The fair board wants to move the grandstand and expand the area in front of it. But, there is no solid plan to do so. It is more of an idea or a dream than a definite plan.

It would make quite a bit of sense to move the grandstand somewhere else. It is land-locked for space for larger events in its current location.

The other issue is, of course, the city currently owns the grandstand itself, as well as the land it sits on.

However, the fair board owns the land the Giant stands on, and wants to make a swap.

The city would get the land where Giant Park and the statue are located, the fair gets the land where the go kart track was, as well as the land the grandstand sits on. And, perhaps, the grandstand itself.

This land swap idea has been in the works for most of the year. It is supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the fair board, as well as a couple of the council members themselves.

But, some councilmen are hesitant to give up control of that property, and a say in what happens to it.

All are serious issues that need to be addressed.

So, the council needs to first sit down and address these many issues and then make a decision on this land.

Ballfield, grandstand or both. One way or the other.

Not an easy decision, I?admit. Unless they use the wisdom of Solomon, of course.