After a tarp was left on the infield too long, the grass was just about dead. The recent rain may help it recover despite the lack of running water at Robbie Mills Sports Complex. (Rick Green/Sun photo)
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Nearing the halfway point of their season, the Winnipesaukee Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League remain high and dry at the Robbie Mills Sports Complex.
There's no running water for bathrooms, concessions or irrigation.
The city is still trying to restore water service to the baseball field two months after it was disrupted by a broken water main.
And, as if portable potties weren't bad enough, a rain tarp was left on too long, turning the infield grass yellow.
Kristian Svindland, the team's general manager, said the team has been forced to find workarounds for the lack of water. Dirty utensils from the concession stand are brought home for cleaning. Bottled water is available for players and fans.
Despite the team's groundskeeping mishap, a rainy summer has worked in the field's favor. Still, that could change.
“The infield is yellow or brownish, but it still plays perfectly,” Svindland said. “We're not in drought conditions, but our main concern is that if conditions change and we get a week with no rain, we'll have some problems.”
City Manager Scott Myers said Thursday he hopes a solution “is days, not weeks” away.
The field at 15 Eastman Road depends on a water tower that is part of the former Laconia State School campus. A water main serving that tower failed in late April.
Rather than make expensive repairs, the state, which is under no obligation to provide water to the city's field, opted to serve its facilities by tying into a water main on Route 106. That roadway is close to the state's property but a good distance from the ball field.
The city's solution was to dig two wells on State School property at a total cost of $47,000. The City Council approved the expenditure, but Laconia still needed to get the state to sign off on the plan. The state required another City Council vote, which occurred Monday, attesting that Myers was authorized to sign relevant documents.
The sports complex land is owned by the state and was leased to the city for 99 years at nominal cost.
It was raining Thursday, which bodes well for the grass, but the portable potties will remain until the water flows again.
Svindland said an average of about 200 people attend each game, and some, particularly of the female variety, object to the primitive facilities.
“We get a complaint every night,” he said. “My mother-in-law has to leave in the seventh inning.”
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