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Twinsburg -- It seemed like a simple request to City Council, but no policy existed to govern it.
A group of Twinsburg Baseball League parents and Board members, led by TBL Board president Rich Swerbinsky, approached city officials in September to ask that the batting cages at the Liberty Park ball fields, purchased by the league, be dedicated to one of their former coaches, Larry Carinci.
"No one person has given more of his own time to youth baseball than Larry," Swerbinsky said. "The way he did it was really always kids-first."
"He was so focused on creating a positive experience for the kids and spent countless number of hours doing it, including impromptu batting cage sessions."
Neither the dedication nor Carinci, who coached two travel teams for the 13 years his two sons played for the league, were the issue, said At-large Councilor Gary Sorace during a phone call Oct. 14.
"We're trying to prevent a precedent where anybody who wants to honor someone for something can put up a stone or a tree," he said. "So we're trying to get a policy in place to avoid that in the future."
During the Oct. 11 City Council meeting, Law Director David Maistros presented a draft of the policy for Council to consider.
"The bulk of the policy is a form that lists all of the information needed," Maistros said.
The draft directs applicants, like the TBL in this case, to complete the application, including the name of the person being honored; to offer a list of the significant contributions to the city made by the honoree, with proof; and produce a rendering of the plaque, marker or memorial proposed for city property.
Swerbinsky said TBL wants to use a three-foot-by-three-foot stone plaque for the dedication.
"If the naming right is approved, the applicant has the responsibility to maintain the dedicated site or the city can have it removed," Maistros said.
The applicant is then also responsible for the cost of the decoration and replacement or repair cost, if necessary.
Once an application is submitted, it is forwarded to department heads for input, then to City Council to approve or deny the request, Maistros said.
The nominee may be subject to a background check as part of the review, Maistros said.
Under the terms of the draft policy, the city can revoke approval for "extraordinary circumstances" or if information is discovered that would "cast the city in a bad light."
Mayor Ted Yates said there is already a city program that allows people to buy a tree and dedicate it to someone.
This is new territory, he said.
"We are trying to make it as simple as possible," Yates added.
TBL officials say they plan to move forward with the application for Carinci's dedication once the policy is in place.