JOLIET – The Slammers get a new scoreboard.
The Joliet City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday to spend $361,000 for a new scoreboard with video screen.
Council members divided over whether the city should spend the money to replace a scoreboard said to be in such bad condition that it might not work when the baseball season starts in May.
Ultimately, council members argued that the city had a responsibility as a landlord to replace the scoreboard.
But the vote also ended with two council members urging a serious effort to sell Silver Cross Field, which is owned by the city.
“The bottom line is we own the ballpark,” Councilman John Gerl said. “It’s our asset. If we didn’t want to have a team, we should have decided two years ago that we didn’t want the team and to mothball the ballpark.”
Gerl referred to the 2012 contract with current ownership of the Joliet Slammers minor-league baseball team. The contract included a clause obligating the city to replace the scoreboard when it reached the end of its useful life.
That time is now, Slammers management said at previous meetings this week. They said it’s not clear whether the scoreboard, installed when the stadium opened in 2002 with a 10-year life expectancy, will last the summer.
The Slammers also argue that a better video screen will enhance their ability to attract other events to Silver Cross Field.
Councilman Larry Hug, who voted against the scoreboard, asked staff to begin discussions with the Slammers about a possible sale of the stadium. Councilman Jim McFarland, another no vote, said he would like the council to take a vote on whether or not to put Silver Cross Field up for sale.
Voting to buy the scoreboard from the company Daktronics were: Gerl, Terry Morris, Jan Quillman, Michael Turk, Bettye Gavin and Mayor Tom Giarrante. Voting no were Hug, McFarland and Bob O’Dekirk.
In a unanimous vote, the council voted against a 120-foot cell tower that would have gone on property behind the Knights of Columbus hall on Infantry Drive.
The Knights of Columbus contend they need the revenue from the cell tower to keep the hall open. Neighbors in the Golf View Estates and Inwood Terrace developments said the cell tower would be too close to their homes.
A representative from the Knights of Columbus told the council at its Monday workshop meeting that without the cell tower, the organization would sell the land for commercial development.
Quillman said she heard from neighbors who said they would rather see the land developed than become the site of cell tower.
“The folks didn’t care if a strip mall went up there,” Quillman said.
Pilot Travel Center
The council also unanimously approved changes in an annexation agreement that will allow a Pilot Travel Center gas station with truck stop to be built at Route 53 and Laraway Road.