VIENNA — Coaches, players and volunteers gathered in Vienna’s city council chambers on Thursday to discuss recent changes on the pitch at Jackson Park.
The room was full of people who didn’t think the recent changes to the Jackson Park baseball diamonds were fair.
At the previous council meeting in October, council officials voted unanimously to dedicate the field north of Jackson Park Drive, known as fields four, five and six, to youth football, while fields one, two, and three were dedicated to baseball and softball.
During the public forum, local coach and parent Jason Czerr shared his story of how baseball was his outlet as a kid. Czerr told the council that they were creating a problem by trying to solve the problem with the soccer fields.
“I came from a training session to be here to tell you guys what you guys are doing is wrong right now,” he said. “But you will create a problem by solving a problem.”
Czerr explained that before the change was made, he was already having problems scheduling the use of baseball diamonds for his players.
Parks director Steve Black, who is also a board member of the Vienna Recreation Improvement Association, explained that for several years field four had been split between football and baseball, as it is the largest ground.
“My position remains that fields five and six should continue to be used for baseball, softball and teeball. Field four should be dedicated to football only,” he said. “The decision was recommended by people who did not have all the facts and should be corrected at this time.”
Black said if recent changes to Jackson Park aren’t reversed, they’ll have to cut programs. He said baseball, softball and teeball deserved a fair chance.
“What will happen if you don’t have these fields? We are going to have to cut programs and we will refuse children, ” he said.
Mayor Randy Rapp said before the decision was made, Black was in his office and was asked to provide a number of children who would be affected by the decision.
“The figures that were shared with the rest of the council were that if this move happened there would only be 60 children affected by this,” Rapp said.
Rapp said there was no discussion about curtailing programs, “Because no one here would support cutting programs.”
Black said that by presenting those numbers, he meant baseball might have 50 to 60 kids needing field four in the spring versus 342 football players using it in the fall.
Rapp said they would fix the problem. No decision has been made at this time.
Of the. Roger Conley, R-Wood, made an appearance at the meeting for a check presentation. Conley presented a check for $13,000 on behalf of the State of West Virginia, the House of Delegates, and Governor Jim Justice to Jack Mathers and Friends of Vienna.
The Vienna Braves, a Vienna Rec baseball team, were honored for winning the Mineral Wells Baseball League this year. The team showed up and received certificates from the city of Vienna.
James Dobbs can be contacted at email@example.com