BLUE EARTH - Blue Earth City Council on Thursday adjusted the amount of land to be included in a swap with the Faribault County Fair Board.
The council had voted Dec. 17 to split a nearly 6-acre plot along a north-south line thought to be 600 feet in length, giving the fair the southern 280 feet while retaining the northern portion for a possible ball diamond.
But City Administrator Kathy Bailey said a legal description was needed for what the fair board would receive. When the land was surveyed, it was found that the plot was not 600 feet in length and that its northern edge goes right up to a walking trail. If a ball diamond was built using those dimensions, home plate in the northeast corner would be situated among trees and a fence line, Bailey said.
Thursday's action adjusts the section of land the fair board will receive. Instead of 280 feet from the southern border of the plot, the dividing line will be 225 feet. This puts the new line just south of a driveway that allows access to a go-kart track. The new line gives the fair board nearly 3 acres in exchange for 1.8 acres surrounding the Green Giant Park to the east.
The entire ball diamond could be shifted south to keep home plate away from the fence and trees and allow room for spectators along the baselines, Bailey said. The baselines would be shortened from 330 to 300 feet. That means the diamond will extend onto fair board land, noted Councilman Glenn Gaylord. Both entities will use each other's land, agreed Councilman Rick Scholtes.
Councilman Russ Erichsrud asked which teams can utilize a field with 300-foot baselines. Scholtes said slow-pitch softball could, and younger athletes too.
Retaining ownership of the land gives the city the option of putting in a ball diamond in the future, Bailey said. Councilman John Gartzke if there is a time limit on the baseball association getting funding, and said he wants to keep lines of communication open between that group and the city.
"The only thing I see happening in the near future is flattening it out," Scholtes said of the field.
Bailey said the land swap is contingent on the fair board's approval. It will meet after the New Year.