The federal government would like to stop future flooding at the Field of Dreams Sports Complex in Van Buren.
Or, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has suggested moving the baseball fields, Mayor Bob Freeman told the Van Buren City Council at its monthly meeting Monday night at the Municipal Complex.
"FEMA wants to see if there is a way to stop this from happening again," Freeman said. "It may not be cost effective but they want the city to have a plan and see what is feasible."
Heavy rains in May 2015 caused extensive damage, forcing the cancellation of numerous tournament and fall baseball at the Field of Dreams. The loss of revenue caused a heavy burden on many non-profit organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren.
The 78-acre sports complex was two weeks from being repaired when December flooding again closed the facility.
However, Paul Dunn of the city’s parks and recreation department said fields were ready for spring baseball April 1 due repairs made by city employees and countless hours of volunteer work.
Freeman said four FEMA mitigation specialists have been at the Field of Dreams.
He said the city has asked Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc. to look at the feasibility of building an enclosure around the Field of Dreams, whether it be a levee or seawall, with pumps to remove water that might flood the facility.
"We will see if it is cost effective for FEMA," Freeman said. "We will put a plan together and go from there. I will keep you posted."
Alderman Jim Petty noted there are not many places to relocate the sport complex within or near the city limits.
Freeman pointed out the area to the south of the city is prone to flooding and the Diamond Center complex on Kibler Highway is only 20 acres.
Flooding has caused $500,000 in damages at the Field of Dreams since May 2015, Freeman said. Insurance and FEMA has reimbursed the city all but $25,000, the mayor said.
He also said FEMA might reimburse the city for salaries for city workers who made repairs at the Field of Dreams from Jan. 1 to April 1.
At Monday’s meeting, the city council voted 6-0 to pay Crawford Construction Co. $130,000 for the most recent repairs to the sports complex, expenditures which will be reimbursed by insurance and FEMA funding.
Also at the meeting, aldermen voted to:
• Enter into a contact with Arkansas and Missouri Railroad to repair a retaining wall near North Sixth and Webster streets. The estimated $500,000 job by Crawford Construction will be split 50-50 by the city and A&M Railroad. City water drainage lines run underneath the railroad tracks near the retaining wall.
• Approve Dillmeier Enterprises Inc., 2903 Industrial Park Road, for benefits from sales and use-tax refunds under the Tax Back Program. Twenty new jobs are being created by an expansion, Freeman said.
• Donate a police department 2004 Ford Expedition SUV to the Cedarville Police Department and see a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria patrol unit.
• Allow the police department to shed outdated, unnecessary and redundant records.
• Adopt a look-back measure method to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.