More space is needed to increase the safety zone between the fireworks launch area and spectators, the fire chief said.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
EAST PALESTINE -- The harvesting of some trees at the city park over the next several weeks is the beginning of a five-year plan of improvements.
City Manager Gary Clark said he and park officials have put together preliminary drawings to add soccer and softball fields and a walking trail at the park.
Clark said some parents of girls who play in summer softball leagues say more fields are needed at the park. Some girls now play on fields in Unity Township that are not easily accessible by bicycle or on foot.
Lumber: City council approved a contract Monday for logger Ed Fisher of Lisbon to harvest trees. Fisher said he could remove trees then clean up and seed the area by April.
Fisher said council will receive 50 percent of the sale price of the lumber. Hauling the logs and other costs will come from his portion, leaving him with about 40 percent of the profit, he said.
Clark said park officials would like the logging to be done so they could start seeding the area in April.
Fire Chief Merle Stewart said more space is needed to continue to have the fireworks displays residents have become accustomed to during the city's Fourth of July celebration at the park.
Clark said the same amount of space -- about 250 feet -- is needed to increase the safety zone between the fireworks launch area and spectators as is needed to create a softball field.
Trees will be harvested from an L-shaped section of the park, including the area around the Boy Scouts cabin and a ravine. Clark said plans will also create space for softball, picnics and a hiking trail.
Clark said Fisher will be removing only trees that are at least 16 inches in diameter, about 20 percent of the trees in the area. Clark said the walking trail could be extended to include some property that fronts state Route 170.