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Featured: Park Department

Duke Park Baseball Backstop Safety Net Upgrade
If you visit Duke Park in the coming months, you may notice a few welcome changes at Field #4. It is no secret that foul balls are part of baseball, often flying into crowds of spectators. To improve the safety of those spectators, safety net systems can be installed to prevent foul balls from entering the stands. Duke Park has had one of these systems in place at Field #4 since its construction in the late 1990s. The field was protected by a safety system consisting of a three-piece nylon net supported by four aluminum flag poles until cracks were discovered in all four poles during an inspection in the spring of 2017. The cracks rendered the net system unusable for the remainder of 2017.  Park Department staff quickly worked to identify a solution to the problem once the cracks were identified.    

Staff researched modern backstop net systems and identified Midwest Netting Solutions, LLC as offering the best solution for the field and athletic spectators. The company already has a presence in the Miami Valley, recently completing a safety net project on the new University of Dayton Flyers field. At Duke Park, Midwest Netting Solutions recommended a change to the existing chain link backstop and provided specifications for a new system that consists of (4) 30 feet tall engineered steel poles and a new net supported by 5/16” aircraft grade steel cables. This change allows foul balls to return to the playing surface rather than getting stuck on top of the fence as they have in the past. In mid-March, the faulty poles were removed. Within the next week, Midwest Netting Solutions will complete installation of the $34,000 system.  The system is specifically engineered to withstand the weight and stress caused by wind, which will enhance longevity. The City is excited to have this system in place at the start of baseball season to maximize spectator safety as patrons once again enjoy baseball this season at Duke Park.  

Jeremy Drake, Park Superintendent
Jeremy, a Troy native, resides in Troy with his high school sweetheart and wife of 20 years, Rachel.  He has more than 19 years of experience with the City as he began his career in the Park Department in 1998.  He was promoted to City Forester and Park Department Foreman in 2007 and most recently promoted to Park Superintendent in 2013.  Jeremy is an Upper Valley Career Center, Environmental Occupations graduate and holds an associate degree in business management from Edison Community College.  He is a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture and a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional through the National Recreation and Parks Association.  Jeremy currently serves as the advisory committee chair for the Environmental Occupations program at the Upper Valley Career Center.  In his free time Jeremy enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and son including: camping, kayaking, hunting, and fishing.  

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