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POLAND Man cites politics for removal



Published: Tue, February 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The longtime board member said he will not argue with council's decision.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

POLAND -- Sad but indifferent is the reaction of a township resident after his removal from the board that oversees Fireman's Field -- a recreational area he helped put together nearly five decades ago.

Cloy Stewart was president of the Poland Fireman's Association in 1952 when the association wanted to install a clubhouse and baseball field in what is now the Fireman's Field area. He said that when the clubhouse and baseball field endeavor fell through the land was given to the village.

Stewart has been involved with the operations at the field since that time.

In January village council passed an ordinance declaring the Fireman's Field board an advisory panel and requiring that all board members be village residents or property owners. Stewart lives in the township and can no longer serve on the board.

"These petty politics in the village I cannot stand, so I am just indifferent," he said. "This was a conflict between people in charge of the field, and when you have a conflict you remove the agitator."

Reasons given: At the time the ordinance was passed, Councilman Al Lind said the measure would clarify the correct line of authority in matters concerning the field. He also said village residents should have the opportunity to sit on the board because their taxes go to support the field's upkeep.

Councilman Robert Limmer objected to the ordinance because he said the residency rule was inappropriate. He said Stewart, at the very least, should be grandfathered in for the remainder of his term on the board.

Use of field: Stewart thinks one of the main underlying issues with the board is a desire by the Poland Baseball Association to gain exclusive rights to the use of the field.

Mayor Ruth Wilkes said she is unaware of any request by the baseball association for exclusive use of the field. She said a deal was reached several years ago granting the association much use of the field, but exclusive use would be out of the question.

"That is a community park," she said.

According to Stewart, a deed restriction on the property states that the park must be used for public recreation. Should exclusive rights be given to any one entity, he said, the deed reads that the property shall revert back to the fireman's association.

At this point Stewart said he will slip away from the board quietly and be content to drive by and admire the land he helped to develop and maintain. The occasional picnic on the grounds will be his greatest involvement now, he said.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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