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Dixie Youth asks to stay at Halifax

South Boston News
DY REPS MEET WITH HALIFAX COUNCIL — Representatives of Halifax Dixie Youth met with Halifax Town Council yesterday to express their desire to continue using the Halifax Elementary ball field. Here League President Barry Moore outlines parts of the county that his Dixie Youth district covers. (SOMcL photo) / April 08, 2010
After receiving a request from Halifax Town Council to find a home elsewhere, Halifax Dixie Youth officials appeared before Council members Wednesday to make the case for keeping league activities at the Halifax Elementary ball field,

“What we want to do is to work out a solution which is best for you and best for the town,” said Councilman Jack Dunavant, after the town recently forwarded a letter to Dixie officials stating that the elementary school ball field will no longer be available to the league next year. Dunavant noted that controversy over having baseball games played at the elementary school field has been ongoing since the early 1990’s. Dunavant said his neighbors object to the lights, the noise and the lack of sufficient parking at the field and want to see the league move before another season of play begins in 2011.

Attending yesterday’s Council committee meeting were three Dixie Youth representatives — Barry Moore, league president, and Randy Moore and Raymond Duffer — as well as County Administrator George Nester. The Dixie officials noted that the Halifax league encompasses an area extending close to Brookneal town limits to a part of River Road. The Halifax ball field site, they said, is central to the district and most league participants in the district live within five miles of the ball field.

Other Dixie Youth districts include South Boston, Cluster Springs and Scottsburg.

Dunavant said he wanted to know just how far Dixie representatives and members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors have gotten in reviewing alternatives to the Halifax site. Nester explained that two possible alternatives have been suggested — the field behind Sydnor Jennings Elementary School near Volens, and Sinai Elementary in the Sinai community.

“But really, we have not made any effort to find an alternative since the Board (of Supervisors) has made it clear they are satisfied with the current location,” said Nester. “Now is not a good time to build a new facility.”

Nester also said he feels it will be the responsibility of the Town and the County to provide financial support for any new ball field development.

Halifax Councilman Bill Confroy suggested that it might be a good idea to run an advertisement in the local newspapers to see if anyone might be willing to donate five to ten acres of land in a central location for the creation of a new ball field. Randy Moore told Council that he and other league officials are actively looking for anyone who might donate land or lend support, including grant funds, for the league’s activities.

But Moore added that Dixie Youth requires at least two fields to attract any state tournament action. Furthermore, Moore said, the costs of developing a new field would exceed $200,000, not including the cost of the land. (The cost of lighting, grading and other work is included in the estimate). Moore also pointed out the Sydnor Jennings field would not be suitable under DY regulations since it is too far removed from the center of the district.

“We’re not saying we won’t move, we just don’t have the funds,” Moore said.

“We appreciate what you do,” Dunavant noted, “and we’re not here to pick a fight. We’ve just got to have it at the right place, and we need you to cooperate and advise us of the requirements of the Dixie Youth program.”

Confroy added that Halifax Council wants to approach the issue in a positive manner and suggested that a working committee be named to study the matter. Nester agreed, saying that the Board of Supervisors would name a member who will work with the Town and representatives of Dixie Youth. More discussion on the matter is expected to come up when Halifax and South Boston Town Council members meet with County Supervisors at their regular joint session on April 19.

In other business during yesterday’s Finance Committee meeting chairman Dick Moore presented a proposed budget for FY 2010-2011 in the amount of $880,294 up some 4.49 percent from the current year’s $842,435 budget.

The proposed budget includes no tax increase and no fee or rate increases for town residents and businesses. It is based on a 17.5 cent real estate tax rate per $100 value, down from the current 18 cent per $100 value of real estate. The decrease comes after the recent reassessment increased the value of real properties within the Town by slightly over one percent. The Finance Committee also recommended amortizing the note of the 2006 purchase of the former grocery store property starting with next year’s 2011-2012 budget. The proposed budget includes no salary increases for Town employees and decreases Police Department spending by 2.52 percent and fire department funding by 2.35 percent.

Earlier in yesterday’s meeting Events Coordinator Erin Shaughnessy reported that plans for the Halifax Earth Day Extravaganza on Saturday, April 24 are going well. The event which is sponsored by the Town, the Convergence Art Guild and the Halifax County Improvement Council will begin at 10 a.m. in the old grocery store lot and continue throughout the day. The 5K Family Fun Run begins earlier at 8 a.m. with the Kids Fun Run starting at 8:30 a.m.

There’ll be door prizes and a silent auction as well as music by local musicians and food vendors. Members of the Bee Keepers, the Master Gardeners and the Botanical Gardens will also be on hand to answer question while offering something for everyone, Shaughnessy said.

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