The City of Monroe has entered an agreement with the PCM Little League to purchase a motorized ball field rake groomer in anticipation of the upcoming baseball and softball seasons.
Monroe City Council members approved the purchase of a 2012 John Deere 1200h with ball field rake groomer at a cost of $4,500 in a 5-0 vote at Monday’s regular monthly city council meeting.
Councilman Jeff Hegwood said he received a commitment from PCM Little League President Mindy Shaver that her organization will commit $1,000 to $1,500 toward the purchase, but requested the Little League’s portion be paid at the end of the 2018 season. The council agreed to the stipulation.
Existing equipment requires volunteers and/or city workers to rake the baseball and softball diamond infields by hand with drag groomers. According to Mayor Doug Duinink, this takes volunteers several hours if it’s a busy game day.
“Instead of piddling around with the old drag ... it will speed your guy’s process up tremendously. I’ve seen them work. You can do an infield in six or seven minutes,” Duinink said. “Basically, it’s like you’re having fun on a three wheeler spinning donuts but you’re dragging. It’s a slick unit. Instead of you guy’s piddling around all afternoon if you have to do two or three fields, it’s an hour.”
The John Deere three-wheeler and dragger were purchased from Turf Equipment and Services of Duluth, Minn. The purchase will come from the city’s rec park savings account with the $1,000 to $1,500 to be reimbursed by the little league.
The new dragger will only be used at the Monroe Rec Complex.
Business 163 speed limit
The council also passed the second reading of an ordinance that would adjust the speed limits on Business Highway 163, with the goal of making the southwest approach to Monroe more safe.
Monroe police and public works have been in talks with Jasper County officials to move its 55 mph speed zone just outside the city limits back further on the highway. The city would then move back its 45 and 35 mph speed zones, accordingly, to the southwest.
City officials said the measure addresses two problems — safety for pedestrians near the Gateway Apartments and Monroe Elementary School and the abrupt slowdown motorists currently face going from 55 mph to 35 mph. Council members believe the change will give motorists more time to slow down before hitting the 35 mph zone.
Jasper County officials have agreed to move their 55 mph speed limit and work with the city if the Monroe council votes to move forward with the change.
The council will vote on the third and final reading at its next regular monthly meeting scheduled for April 9.
In other action Monday, the council:
• approved 5-0 the closures of North Monroe Street and East Marion Street in front of CJ’s Bar and Grill for this summer’s Monroe Bike Night series. Bikes nights for 2018 will be the second Saturday of the month June through September.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at email@example.com