I am writing this to encourage our city to do better for youth baseball. My son has been playing baseball for nine years.
The land space in town is difficult as well as the field conditions. For high school baseball, there are two options: Ashley Park and Ryder Park. The high school and Legion Baseball use these fields. This year there were a lot of boys who went to play baseball and like many years not everyone can play due to lack of space on the field.
Field conditions are substandard. Games are usually canceled because the pitches can’t handle the humidity.
Ryder Park is a disgrace to our community and our teams. The parking lot is in poor condition. The bathrooms are not insulated so are still not open for the season. The pitching mound is horrible and I’ve seen many pitchers struggle to navigate it. The sidewalks inside the park are dangerous. I saw two people fall on it, one of whom broke his ankle. Starting road works at the start of the season in front of the only entrance to the park is far from ideal.
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When the magnificent softball complex was built north of the city, the taxpayers who paid for this facility were promised that these fields would also be used for baseball. With all the room available, not a single pitch was big enough for baseball beyond a young age.
I call on the city council, the mayor/candidates and the parks department to answer this question.
The city has depended on private and school baseball leagues for far too long to resolve this situation. Both Kearney and Hastings have great baseball facilities. Grand Island needs to understand this.