Safety a concern at Moss Bluff Little League fields, parents pack meeting to air views

Published 10:00 am Friday, February 24, 2023

By Emily Burleigh

American Press

The Community Center and Playground District 4 of Ward 1 Board held a meeting to discuss if the park’s baseball and softball complex is safe to use.

These issues arose after the Moss Bluff Little League baseball and softball teams found themselves locked out of the fields on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, members of the Little League Board submitted their practice and game schedules, and were told they would be able to play baseball and softball on the fields this year. This came as good news, as for the past two years, the Moss Bluff Little League has shared fields with the Westlake teams due to damages to the park from the hurricanes.

However, after a safety run conducted by the Little League board, eight safety concerns were found, including: bases not lined up with the home plate, exposed electrical wires on the field, holes present around the field in plain areas, debris spread throughout the park, multiple areas with sharp, rusted pipes protruding from the ground and concrete walkways covered with algae and mud.

It was stated that these safety concerns were brought to the park board with the understanding that repairs would be made prior to the start of practices.

Additionally, the newly installed lighting system currently cannot be used – a surge protector needs to be installed – and the bathrooms are inoperable.

As of today, the Park Board has conducted approximately $4 million worth of repairs throughout the district. This includes the fencing repairs, lighting restoration, demolition of damaged concession stands, new dugouts and covered awnings.

They have only received approximately $1.5 million in FEMA reimbursements.

The Little League Board – represented by Colby Callaway, Safety Manager, and Richard Smith, Vice President of Softball – and concerned parents expressed discontent with the Park Board’s lack of communication, stating that they have experienced radio silence and hostility. Additionally, they showed concern over the job quality of the three paid maintenance employees that oversee day-to day maintenance of the park.

After an hour and a half of heated discussion, the park board committed to having all safety issues addressed, bathrooms repaired and gates unlocked Monday, March 6. Today, Feb. 24, two representatives from the park board and two representatives from the Little League Board will meet in hopes of coming to an amicable resolution.

“We have a tentative restart date for March 4. The Little League Board will be meeting with the Park Board on 24th of February to discuss the results of the meeting and come up with a plan,” said Cody White, Little League Board President. “We look forward to getting back on the fields and keeping everyone safe at the same time.”

To expedite the repair process, the Little League Board drafted a liability waiver that would allow members and parents to participate in field rehabilitation. The legality of this waiver will have to be evaluated.

The Park Board will host their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 to discuss concerns further and come to finalized decisions.

Currently, the season should continue as scheduled.