The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 20, 2013

Geneva BOE to discuss fate of Memorial Field tonight

Star Beacon

GENEVA — Geneva Board of Education members will discuss the future of Memorial Field tonight, possibly deciding on land use recommendations made by Ed Leitch, the district’s director of transportation and maintenance, the board’s agenda shows.The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Cork Elementary.

This is the second meeting in a row in which the board will make decisions for the flood and fire damaged Memorial Field, located on Eastwood Street.

The track and field, which was leased to Spire Institute for five years, sustained damage in a March 2012 fire set by two juveniles. The main grandstand was destroyed.

Last month the board of education and Spire amicably agreed to terminate the lease, as well as the use of the district’s classrooms and development of athletic fields around Geneva High School, as the sports institute looks to “re-tool” plans, Spire chief operating officer Jeff Orloff said.

The district has resumed responsibility for the property at a cost of $20,000 per year and committed to another five years of football and track at the state-of-the-art Harpersfield Township athletic center.

But the board of education and school administrators were already looking ahead for the field, opening talks with the city about possible uses for the property, Superintendent Mary Zappitelli said in January.

Zappitelli said the district hopes to use the land “in collaboration” with the city.

The meeting will also include a board discussion about problems with the parent pick up and drop off system at the elementary schools. School board member Jessecca Wilt proposed the formal discussion during the February meeting when she requested the board have an open conversation about the procedural problems voiced by local parents.