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City Council to meet Friday to reconsider baseball tournament

NEW ULM — A special meeting of the New Ulm City Council will be held 4:30 p.m. Friday to reconsider the July 7 decision to allow use of Johnson Park and Mueller Park for the State Amateur Baseball Tournaments.

On July 7 the city council approved allowing the New Ulm Baseball Association to use the ballfields for the tournament by a 3-2 split vote. Councilors Larry Mack and David Christian voted against allowing the tournemnt. Councilors Charlie Schmitz, Lisa Fischer and Les Schultz approved.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a tournment poses potential community health risk. The number of COVID cases in Brown County have doubled since the council first voted on the issue.

The New Ulm Baseball Association (NUBA) had original voiced concerns about this health risk to the Minnesota Baseball Association (MBA) in June, but the MBA decided to move forward with the tournament based on governance from the state on playing sports. NUBA has been given the guidelines for mitigation at recreational facilities and seated venues and will be coming up with a COVID-19 mitigation plan for both ball parks.

Johnson Park continues to host baseball games under state guidelines, but a tournament has the potential to bring even more people to the community in terms of fans and teams. The concern is this could open the city to greater spread of the virus.

A letter was recently submitted to the city council from 15 New Ulm area physicans expressing concerns over this tournament. The physicans are opposed to the tournament for fear of viral surge.

MBA stated during the July 7 meeting, the tournament will move forward elsewhere if the city denies use of the field. It could be several years before New Ulm receives the state tournament again.

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