BLUE EARTH — An abandoned patch of fairgrounds in Blue Earth could see a future as a ballfield, a grandstand expansion — or both.
City Council Member Glenn Gaylord thinks the compromise option is a no-brainer.
“In my eyes it’s so terribly simple a solution that it shouldn’t even be debated,” he said.
Faribault County Fair Board President Daryl Murray said he’s on board with that in principle, though he can see where the dual use could be problematic.
“If a permanent fence was on the ballfield, that would limit the outfield space for the fair to use for parking semis and demolition derby vehicles,” he said.
The issue presented itself when City Council members were discussing what to do with the city space formerly occupied by a nonprofit go-kart track group that ceased operations last year because of financial problems.
Council Member Russ Erichsrud said the property should be solely used by the fair, while others on the panel lean toward the compromise scenario.
Veteran councilman Gaylord said a ballfield had been at that location before the city opted 10 years ago to turn it over to the go-kart operation.
He said it was a controversy at the time to give up the field for a go-kart track. “But some of us thought we wanted to try something new and exciting for our community.”
Gaylord said he also stated at the time that if the track didn’t work out, the space would be reverted to a ballfield. “And I want to be true to my word.”
He said when the space was used as a ballfield, games wouldn’t be scheduled during fair week in early August, a move that could be easily reinstated with a new field.
But City Administrator Kathy Bailey said resuming ballgames at a field where fair vehicles had been parked for days might effectively end games there for the season due to turf damage.
She said the city, fair board and local softball/baseball interests will be meeting to further discuss the matter.