Elburn Youth Baseball loses use of McNair Field

 
 
Updated 2/13/2015 5:29 PM

Elburn Youth Baseball will lose the use of McNair Field in Blackberry Township this season as negotiations for a new lease have failed.

Blackberry Township Supervisor Fred Dornback told the township board about this Tuesday. The township had leased the field, for $1 a year, on behalf of the baseball league.

 

Dornback said the township and the land's owner, a cellphone tower company, disagreed about having the township pay the owner's attorney costs for any litigation arising out of the use of the field on Bateman Road.

The previous lease expired in 2013.

Dornback said he is working to get about $70,000 worth of items the league installed on the field, including backstops, returned to the league. The township's attorney advised him that since the lease lapsed, the equipment now belongs to the landowner.

The baseball league has other fields in Elburn, Kaneville and Maple Park.

The future

The Kane County Forest Preserve District and the township have an agreement that lets sports fields be built on part of the former Gum farm that the forest district bought in September. The farm is just south of McNair Field.

The township will grade and seed about 20 acres, and put in rudimentary roads and parking areas. Youth sports groups would develop and maintain the fields, according to Dornback. The land is leased to a farmer this year, and Dornback estimates youth sports fields wouldn't be ready until 2017. The township has hired a landscape architect to help design the fields. The baseball league, plus Kaneland Youth Football and a lacrosse league, are interested in playing on the site, Dornback said.

"My dream was we could hold on to that field (McNair) until another was ready," Dornback said.

A representative of the baseball league could not be immediately reached for comment.

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