City officials worry about foul balls from Athletic Park - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

City officials worry about foul balls from Athletic Park

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Foul balls at Athletic Park in Wausau often go into the stands, but some of those balls are landing near the park's new playground area.

City officials and the Wisconsin Woodchucks owner say it's a safety concern for children.

"A lot of the children out there are not paying attention and they're not ready and they don't think about the fact that they're still in a baseball stadium," said Mark Macdonald, Wisconsin Woodchucks Owner

About two weeks ago, city officials say a foul ball hit a woman who was watching her children play at the park.

She wasn't seriously injured, but they say the incident shed light on a safety problem.

"It's all new, people aren't accustomed to that operating as a park adjacent to the baseball park," said David Oberbeck, Wausau's Park and Recreation Committee Chairperson.

At the Park and Recreation Committee meeting Monday night, the Wisconsin Woodchucks owner and city officials discussed plans to keep the playground safe.

Oberbeck says an engineering firm is designing a net to possibly cover the play area.

"One of the advantages might be that that screen will provide some shade over the equipment for the kids, so it's looking at it as a positive way to address the situation," said Oberbeck.

Parent Heather Schuette of Wausau says she thinks a net would be a good addition.

"I think it would give parents a piece of mind, just to have another layer of protection," said Schuette.

City leaders say fans should always watch out for foul balls at the stadium.

Neighbors living near the ball park say those foul balls come with the territory.

"We've only had a couple that have hit the house, no damage has been done," said Sarah Frank of Wausau. "You kind of got to expect it moving in the neighborhood being right across the street form a ballpark."

City officials say the netting proposal will ready by the end of the month.

Woodchucks owner says until then the organization will reach out to the fans.

"We need to educate the fans to pay attention," said Macdonald.

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