Missing sod caper ends with improvements | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Missing sod caper ends with improvements

Darin Olde, Tribune staff writer

Patches of missing sod at a community baseball field put Little League board members on the hunt for answers Wednesday.

The city of South Lake Tahoe Parks Department removed about 300 square feet of sod at the Little League baseball field next to Al Tahoe Elementary School. Park department officials said the sod was removed because it needs to be replaced.

“All we are doing is repairing or replacing sod that was damaged or missing,” said Greg Ross, lead park maintenance worker.

The workers were squaring off the pieces so that its replacement, which comes in rolls of long rectangles, will be flush with the perimeter, not so that it can be used somewhere else.

In fact, the healthy pieces of sod taken with the poorer swatches will be salvaged as spot replacements elsewhere in the field, which is why maintenance workers were taking their time collecting and handling the material.

“We didn’t know what had happened, because we hadn’t been told that that major repair was going to be done,” said Jerry Weldy, president of the Little League board. “We hadn’t seen anything that big, and we look out for those fields.”

Safety is the parks department’s primary concern, but the field is being replaced for esthetic reasons, too.

“Balls can take funny hops,” Ross said. “We got holes all over the place that we’re trying to patch.”

Snowstakes with yellow nylon rope mark the swath of dirt where the sod used to be. There is a slight lip where the sod has been removed, and the city doesn’t want users to trip over uneven surfaces.

Ross was on his way to purchase the new sod Thursday afternoon. He anticipated an order of about 3,000 square feet, most of which will be used to fill baserunning patches on the T-ball field adjacent to Al Tahoe Elementary School.

The fields, which are used for T-ball, are multi-use fields. The baselines, which were created when sod was removed without permission from the field’s owner — created problems for other sports, Ross said.

“Time has come to make it safe again,” he said.

South Tahoe Middle School’s soccer field will also receive nearly 600 square feet of sod.

Replacement may be complete by the beginning of next week.

With the conclusion of Little League and American Youth Soccer Association’s select league, Ross said he has about a two-week window to make the repairs before the South Tahoe AYSO regular season begins.

“Hopefully we’ll get some new roots by the the time AYSO plays on it,” he said.

The Community Athletic Coordinating Council purchased the sod. The council obtains money from participants who use the fields for summer sports.

A month from now, about 17,000 square feet of sod will be planted between the three Little League fields near the scoreboards.

The sod will be planted to accommodate other activities, which need more room.

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