Gaga pit will be added at park

Diane Raver | The Herald-TribuneAdam Hollowell (left) and Steven Harmeyer explain what a Gaga pit is.

Community development director Steven Harmeyer and Batesville High School junior Adam Hollowell requested up to $3,600 from the Belterra Fund to install a Gaga pit at Liberty Park.

On July 8, Harmeyer told Batesville City Council members he had asked two BHS students, Hollowell and Callie Main, to come up with a few suggestions of recreational projects specifically for teenagers. The teens recommended a Gaga pit.

This sport is played in an octagonal pit. “Dubbed a kinder, gentler version of dodge ball, the game is played with a soft foam ball and combines the skills of dodging, striking, running and jumping while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees," Harmeyer revealed.

The director then partnered with David Abel, Batesville Community School Corp. resource officer, to administer a survey to all high school students asking what they would like to see for recreation projects.

“The survey concluded with 77 percent in favor of a Gaga pit. The results also indicated that nearly 60 percent of students would utilize (it) … either always, often or sometimes.”

Hollowell said, “I moved to the Batesville area four years ago, relocating from Decatur County, and I am glad to be a Batesville resident, and I am honored to be able to leave a legacy in my city.”

“Gaga ball was a popular activity at the Batesville High School After Prom last year, and it would be … a very fun, positive way to get people of all ages to get out of the house, take advantage of the outdoors and partake in this activity.”

Parks commissioner Mike Baumer reported, “The park board approved getting rid of the sand volleyball court, so this would be put somewhere in that area …. (The pit border) would be about 2-3 feet high, low enough for kids to jump over” and would be about 20 feet in diameter.

“It’s going to be fairly maintenance free. We had people two to three years ago ask about it, but it never really got off the ground." In the future, “it would be nice to have other things in that area for young adults to do.”

Council members in attendance, Kevin Chaffee, Jim Fritsch and John Irrgang, unanimously approved the request.

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.

Other news

• Members approved Ordinance 2-2019, which amended Chapter 96 of the Batesville Municipal Code regarding boat usage on the reservoirs and adjusted the rates for the use of Liberty Field. While boating is not allowed at the Liberty Park Reservoir, sail and motor boats with no wake can be used on Bischoff Reservoir and electric boats are allowed on Mollenkramer, Osier, Feller and Hahn reservoirs. In addition, canoes and row boats can be utilized on all five. Swimming is not permitted in any of the water sources. Teams sponsored by an accredited Indiana high school may utilize Liberty Field for their practices and games at the rate of $1,500 per season. The city will provide all chalk, field drying and field care. All other groups or individuals may utilize the field for $100 per day with no field preparation and $200 per day with field prep, which includes dragging the field and lining the field once prior to play. Users will not be allowed to do any field prep work. In addition, members granted the Parks and Recreation Department the power to adjust the fees and rates contained in this chapter when needed.

• Members also OK’d Ordinance 3-2019, which amended Chapter 95 of the city’s code. This outlined what vegetation and other items are considered nuisances and how violators will be charged.

• The first readings of Ordinance 4-2019, which would establish the maximum salaries and hourly rates for appointed officials and city employees for 2020, and Ordinance 5-2019, which would set the 2020 salaries of elected officials, were presented. If the ordinances are passed, there will be up to 1.5 percent increases for appointed officials and workers based on managers' decisions and a flat 1.5 percent increase for elected officials. The second readings will be held next month.

• There was a public hearing for the annexation of 43 acres owned by Werner/Garrett Ventures LLC just west of Batesville High School. Batesville Advisory Plan Commission President Dave Raver said that group supported it. City attorney Doug Wilson said he will draft an ordinance for next month’s meeting.

• Batesville Board of Works members OK’d five street usages/closures: Aug. 10, Bulldog Chase 5K, beginning at Batesville Middle School at 8:30 a.m.; Aug. 10, Henry Street Block Party, that street will be closed between Maplewood and Beech Grove avenues from 3-11 p.m.; Sept. 11-16, St. Louis Parish Festival, South Walnut Street from the corner of Helene to South Mulberry and St. Louis Place from the corner of Walnut Street east to Main Street will be closed; Sept. 14, Eagles Lodge family picnic, the former Feller’s lot and Elm Street between Boehringer and Pearl Streets will be closed; and Nov. 16, Girls on the Run Fall 5K, begins and ends at the Batesville Knights of Columbus hall.

• The next Batesville City Council meeting will be held a week later than usual, Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Memorial Building Council Chambers.