By Trudy Wischemann
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was running through my head as I sat down to write this column. I think it was being broadcast telepathically from the Lindsay Olive Bowl, our historic sports complex that hosted adult baseball teams in the past as well as youths’, and high school football games as well. The olive-shaped scoreboard, donated by Lindsay High School Students and Lindsay Ripe Olive Company, still has places to record the downs and quarters as well as the runs and innings. Going there, even when it is empty of people, provides an experience of continuity, being part of Lindsay’s past better days as well as the better ones we hope will come.
But if you’ve been following the plans for Lindsay with even a half-open eye, you’ll know they’re not coming soon. We have at least two strikes against us, if not three: the half-baked plans put forward by staff and the lack of critical questioning and oversight of those plans by the council. The third strike is we, the people, who do not believe we can influence this process and just stay out of it.
I think the reason the Olive Bowl was singing to me is the memory of the missing trees at the Lindsay Public Golf Course, which was closed in February to prepare for its renovation into soccer fields. The grant money that had been secured to renovate the Olive Bowl was moved from that purpose to the purpose of demolishing the golf course in order to build five new soccer fields (at the proposal of staff, the approval of Council, and the excitement of the youth soccer teams who stood to benefit from these new fields.) The coaches of the baseball teams got the word a little late, and so were not able to muster their youthful players to be at the council meeting where this approval occurred.
The reason given for this money-shifting was that the Olive Bowl’s renovation plans had been stymied by the death of the engineer in charge, and with the non-extendable deadline of June 30 for the expenditure of these funds, the money would be rescued from potential loss by diverting them to this more easily completed project.
Since February I have been watching the golf course with an anxious eye, hoping for a reprieve. Even as the grass grew long this spring, golfers were going out and hitting balls in the rough, so to speak. The leaves on the trees returned, and the landscape moved from being a well-trimmed park to a sort of nature preserve, still lovely, green-treed open space.
Then the grass turned yellow, and sometime in late May while I was travelling, they cut the trees. They didn’t cut them down, mind you: they just beheaded them, cut off all their limbs, and left 10’ tall stumps standing bare-naked in the sun. It looks brutal to me.
And now there are less than three weeks to go before that money has to be spent to make soccer fields for all those excited youth. When the kids thought of having soccer fields there, did they imagine the trees remaining to provide shade for the parents on the sidelines? Did the coaches realize the city intended to turn a simple paradise into yet another shadeless desert in summer? Did any of us?
Trudy Wischemann is a pained tree-hugger who lives in Lindsay. You can send her your thoughts c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com and leave a comment there.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.