Residents don't feel safe at home

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:49

    Foul balls bedevil Ogdensburg neighborhood Ogdensburg-Softball is a dangerous sport, according to resident Matthew Wesolowski. Not to the players, but to those living in the vicinity of the ball field located at Main Street and North Clark Street. Wesolowski has endured what he called the "recklessness" of the men's softball league for many years but previously did not wish to create any controversy. He finally chose to speak at the town meeting held Sept. 13. His backyard borders the field on North Clark Street, and he and his neighbors have dealt with broken windows, damaged property, and near misses by balls as they sat or gardened in their yards. He noted that the problems occur only during men's league play and not during games held by the Babe Ruth or women's softball leagues. The problem is not balls going over the outfield fence, but over the backstop behind the plate. Wesolowski said that the backstop is too far behind home plate and also is not high enough to contain foul balls. Nor does it extend over the area of home plate, where it could prevent balls from soaring into neighboring homes and yards. Wesolowski recalled a Sunday morning as he sat reading the newspapers when a ball came crashing through his window, scattering glass all over his living room. Another incident involved his neighbor's new SUV that sustained a shattered windshield. The misdirected balls have also entered into the playground area where the safety of children is compromised. Wesolowski suggested that a net be suspended over the home plate area to keep the balls in the playing field. Another suggestion was to erect a "clam shell" structure - a sort of hood that covers the plate area - at the back stop. Councilman John Fierro stated that the town is aware of the situation, and that the Board has been investigating solutions. Both the Board and Wesolowski acknowledged that use of a net could be subject to vandalism, requiring the police to be extremely vigilant in patrolling the area. The Council has explored the cost feasibility of poles and netting and has looked into the possibility of a clam shell. Fierro assured Wesolowski that the matter will be further investigated.