Field won’t be named for Utah |

Field won’t be named for Utah

After hearing from Little League officials, coaches and parents, the Nevada City council decided Wednesday night the baseball field at Pioneer Park won’t be named the U. Utah Phillips Memorial Park.

Instead, it’s more likely that some day a bench or a plaque will commemorate Phillips, the famous folksinger who was a fixture for years at Little League baseball games played at the park.

“I agree with what Jordan Fisher Smith said earlier. Utah would be furious if we argued about this,” said Councilman Steve Cottrell, who proposed the naming of the park.

The City Council agreed not to vote on the proposal. Instead, a steering committee of Phillips’ supporters will bring another proposal to the city’s Park and Recreation Committee at a future date.

Mayor Sally Harris said she had received calls from members of the Little League community who opposed naming the field after Phillips, who died on May 30 at the age of 73.

“I heard from a number of people today who have wonderful memories of how this field was developed, and their feelings are independent of their feelings for Utah Phillips,” Harris said at one point.

Scott Parsons, who identified himself as a former Little League board member and coach, said he had many fond memories of Phillips at the field but couldn’t support the proposal.

“I really don’t have a problem with honoring him at the park without naming the field after him,” said Parsons, echoing the sentiment of another Little League coach who testified later.

Mikhail Graham and Chris Towne told the council they supported the proposal along with KVMR Program Director Steve Baker.

“I’d love to see this for the baseball field,” Graham said. “The legacy of this man is something to be honored and cherished.”

In the end, city council members Barbara Coffman, David McKay and Harris said they could support naming a bench at the park for Phillips or having a plaque bearing his name added to it, but that was as far as they would probably go.

“I think everyone wants to do something,” Coffman said. “I just don’t know if naming the field after him is the right thing to do.”

Trail approved

At last night’s meeting, the council also approved a resolution of support for the the Deer Creek Tribute Trail, an 8-mile trail that will follow sides of Deer Creek. The trail would begin in downtown Nevada City and about 6.5 miles of it would be on existing trails and unimproved roads, according to a staff report. The Friends of Deer Creek have received a $912,000 grant for the project. The Planning Commission previously approved the request on a 5-0 vote.

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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