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Larks Park plaques cause discussion


At Thursday night's Hays City Commission work session, at Commissioner Ron Mellick's request, there was a discussion concerning plaques at Larks Park.

Two years ago, the city budgeted $10,000 for improvements to the backstop at Larks Park. Fort Hays State University wanted to replace the entire backstop, which would cost more than the money budgeted.

The total cost for replacement was $18,350. The city agreed to pay its share if FHSU would take care of the difference. Sometime this year, a plaque appeared on the east side of the grandstand identifying the Meckenstock Group for its financial consideration to the project. City staff was contacted by FHSU and advised the plaque be small and unobtrusive.

Mellick was thinking about the historical nature of the baseball park, which was constructed in 1940.

"I'm concerned about that, mainly because I'm afraid there will be more plaques, more holes drilled in there, more recognition," Mellick said. "What I would like to see is that plaque removed, and the holes not fixed, but restored."

Dougherty said there was not a formal policy.

Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV expressed concerned about a plethora of plaques being added.

"Any city property, it should be reviewed by the city commission before a plaque is put up," he said.

City Manager Toby Dougherty said FHSU also would like to install plaques thanking benefactors in boarded-up windows on the side of the grandstand.

In the future, if the city contributes financially to a project, Mellick wants that to be recognized.

Dougherty said city staff would craft a policy and present it to the commissioners for their consideration.