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Locked baseball fields in Alexandria to be addressed

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Parents in Alexandria have shown concern over city baseball diamonds being locked.

At last week’s city council meeting, the council unanimously voted against allowing the city to enter a contract with Barnes Academy, a baseball team and training organization.

The proposed contract would have granted Barnes Academy exclusive use of eight city fields, five days a week, until June of 2022. Also, Barnes Academy would not have to pay rental fees.

District 4 City Councilman Catherine Davidson had some issues with that.

“They’re paying nothing, they’re for-profit, they want exclusive use for 365 days, five days a week, of every field that the city owns...quite unbelievable,” said Davidson at the latest council meeting.

Cam Hallman, the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, said the contract could provide the city with some benefits.

“In exchange for those deals, they had put in to run five camps for the city, free of charge,” said Hallman. “With more to come free of charge to our youth, also they would do a high school baseball league free of charge.”

Still, the contract was voted down, and at no point was the contract in place. Yet, there were reports of city workers removing local kids and teams from city baseball fields, saying that Barnes Academy had exclusive use of the field.

“There was a set of dads and their kids playing ball on a field, and you (Hallman) went and told them that Barnes had exclusive use, which is just not that case. I mean if I know that, and those parents know that, then you would think that the person in charge of community services would know that,” said Davidson.

The problem is that city baseball fields remain locked. Some fields, like the youth complex, are labeled “game condition” and remain locked until they are rented.

It is still unclear what city baseball fields are open to the public, which is why at next week’s city council meeting on September 21, the mayor’s administration will present its policy on locking city parks.

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