Ralston’s Orval Smith Field now is under new management.
While still owned by the city, the field will be managed and maintained by Ralston Public Schools, a plan that has been in the works for a while.
“Dr. [Mark] Adler and I have been meeting for three months about what we can do with Orval Smith Field,” Mayor Don Groesser said during a Ralston City Council meeting on March 15.
The agreement ensures that RPS, that uses the field for Ralston High School baseball games, does all required maintenance on the field.
“The school must mow, water and keep everything in good condition,” Groesser said.
The city will continue to pay utilities and electricity for the field.
RPS Superintendent Mark Adler said while the district has some plans to upgrade the field, there are no large renovation projects planned.
“I’ve heard what a great place it used to be and I would like to get it back to that,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s bad. It just has its years on it. We are not intending to do a lot of stuff to it. I’m not going to allow any major construction down there. But we need to do this for our kids.”
While the council and RPS Board of Education approved the one-year agreement between the city and the school district, there were still some questions.
Some council members wondered, if large improvements needed to be made to the field, should it approved by one or both sides beforehand.
City Attorney Mark Klinker suggest the council approve the agreement as written, then add in something about future improvements.
“Add an addendum that says no capital improvements or repair without approval from both bodies,” he said.
Other council members wondered how involved the Ralston American Legion was in this decision and how much they use the field.
George Sevick, a member of the Ralston American Legion Post 373, said over the years, legion members have made many improvements to the field.
“We have put in a lot of monetary improvements in the last couple years,” Sevick said.
Those improvements include the scoreboard, fixing the infield and putting in a new backdrop, totaling more than $20,000 of members’ own money.
“We want to get to where our people want to come see games at our field,” Sevick said.
Council President Jerry Krause said the agreement between the city and RPS is a good one in order to get people back to Orval Smith Field and have a nice baseball field in the city.
“The idea here is let’s try something together so the legion and the high school have a field we’re all real proud of,” he said. “Let’s try to get something done.”