The new batting cage in Old Schoolhouse Park in Mayer, installed on July 6. All you need is a pitcher and a batter to practice your swing. (Submitted photo)

Residents of Mayer may have noticed a few new fixtures in their parks the last few weeks. Two of those fixtures, a batting cage in Old Schoolhouse Park and a new playground in Discovery Park, are the results of a couple years of planning. With restrictions easing up and weather getting nicer, Mayer residents will finally have the chance to enjoy these new amenities.

The batting cage was officially installed on July 6, and there are a few reasons behind a batting cage being chosen. The biggest reason was simply the hope that it would be a draw for teams, youth or otherwise, to come and practice in Mayer.

“We’ve had the three baseball fields for years, and the biggest thing is that Watertown and Mayer a lot of the youth baseball is combined and nothing much happened over here,” said Troy Congdon, parks board member. “We wanted to bring some tournaments and games over here.”

The batting cage has been in talks for the last couple years, and the cost of it was approved in the city budget. It’s not an automated cage, so two people will use it at a time with a batter and pitcher. It’s great for practicing swings and pitches without having to worry about losing the ball. The hope is that the cage will help all teams in the area, youth and adult league.

As for the new playground in Discovery Park, this was again a decision that took a couple years of planning. According to Congdon, the old playground, which was made of wood, was beginning to fall apart. The new playground is made of the more traditional plastic, and the hope is more people, specifically children, will use this playground now that it’s ready and brand new instead of crossing the highway to a different one.

The new playground has been installed for roughly a couple months, according to Congdon. The reason it wasn’t advertised was because there were still many unknowns and restrictions due to COVID-19.

“We want people to use them but we also don’t want people to get sick, so we didn’t advertise them as much, but we’re starting to pick it up again,” said Margaret McCallum, city administrator. “I actually just updated the ‘Parks’ page on the website.”

However, now that restrictions are loosening, the city and parks department is excited to have people out and about in Mayer trying out their new amenities. Congdon stated that the batting cage has already seen some activity, and so far it’s been positive. All that’s asked is that guests respect social distancing, bring their own equipment for the batting cage, and remember to wash their hands.

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