A group of Kirkland residents living nearby Holleuffer Park in Kirkland are complaining that softballs being batted out of the baseball diamond represent a danger to them. Tony De Simone whose house faces the park was at city hall on Sept. 10 to report the problem to council during the question period.
De Simone claims he represents five neighbours of Dance Street next to Holleuffer Park. He says he and his neighbours have come close to being hit by flying balls many times this summer and he says this is a major security issue.
“When the kids or somebody tries to pass and the baseball game is on, you’re at risk. It’s like playing Russian roulette. I’ve been there 24 years and I’ve been held hostage, myself and all the neighbours. We have been lucky we have been missed (by the balls) so many times. Because if a ball can shatter a windshield, imagine what it would do to your head. There would be no need for me to complain about this if the situation wasn’t serious,” he said.
De Simone threatens to take legal action against the city if he or one of his neighbours gets hit by a ball.
“This is a serious issue. If one of the kids or myself gets a ball to the head, you guys are going to get sued and sued bad,” he told council.
After hearing De Simone plead, Mayor John Meaney asked him to give him a week to look into the issue. Director general Joe Sanalitro called back De Simone the following Monday telling him he would address the issue and make the park safe. De Simone who says he trusts the director general, claims Sanalitro told him he would look into reworking the way the baseball diamond is located.
“He was kind of broad about it but I have to give him the benefit of the doubt: at least he called back. Now we just have to wait. For the moment, we don’t have a choice, but this is the city’s last chance. If they don’t come up with something secure for the park, we’re going to take legal action. What Sanalitro mentioned is that the season is almost over now and the works are going to start in the Spring. There is not much we can do right now. But if things don’t happen in the Spring, then it’s a different story,” said De Simone in a phone interview last Thursday.