By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Sunflower seeds are back on the menu for Liberal’s baseball fans. Following a complaint Tuesday evening from Vice Mayor Joe Denoyer, signs banning sunflower seeds from both Rosel Field and the Sports Complex were removed Wednesday.
“I will be the first one to commend staff when they do a good job or do their jobs to the utmost of their ability,” Denoyer said. “I will be the last person to point a finger when staff does not do their job.
“Baseball and sunflower seeds go together guys,” he continued. “They are banning sunflower seeds at the ball diamonds. I live right across the street from Rosel Field and have had several people walk over to my house wanting to know why. They were told that sunflower seeds killed grass. And they can if they are dumped in a massive quantity in a big pile and not attended to.”
Denoyer explained there was enough city staff available, along with extra help hired in the summer, to clean up sunflower seeds if they are a problem.
“Last year, there were problems with sunflower seeds under the bleachers – a leaf blower took care of that,” he said. “This year, so we don’t have to use a leaf blower, we put a sign up. And now there is talk of putting another sign up that says, ‘No sunflower seeds unless in proper container.’”
Denoyer expressed his disagreement with the banning of sunflower seeds and felt the situation must be addressed immediately.
“I totally disagree with the sunflower seed sign at the Baseball Complex and Rosel Field,” he said. “The city sells sunflower seeds, and I was told today that they are no longer allowed to sell those because of the signs.”
“Who made that decision?” commissioner Larry Koochel asked.
Although it was unclear as to who actually made the decision to ban sunflower seeds, city manager Mark Hall said the problem would be dealt with in a timely manner.
“The situation will be remedied, we will correct that or remove the sign,” Hall said. “It is something that is part of baseball. I think, to my understanding, the intention was to try to keep it a clean place. We apologize if it offended anyone, but we will get that corrected.”
“It is not enforceable,” Denoyer responded to Hall’s comments.
Commissioner Dave Harrison felt it appropriate to ask patrons of the parks to properly dispose of sunflower seeds. However, he sympathized for the concession stands and loss of revenue they experienced due to the inability to sell sunflower seeds at ball games.
“I agree with what you are saying, Joe,” Harrison said. “But at the same time, I don’t see anything wrong with asking someone to please dispose of them properly.
“The thing I am worried about is, concession stands struggle,” he added. “One of the things that they do sell a lot of is sunflower seeds.”
“It will be remedied,” Hall quickly informed commissioners.
The sign banning sunflower seeds throughout City of Liberal baseball diamonds was removed Wednesday.