|Youth Baseball Gets
Boost From Richmond
February 1, 1999
WEST COUNTY TIMES
* THE CITY WILL FORM A COMMISSION TO OVERSEE SPENDING AND LEAGUES AND WANTS TO INCLUDE AN UNUSED BALL FIELD
Sunday, February 1, 1999
RICHMOND After years of standing on the sidelines, the city has decided to step up to the plate and play a major role in unifying city youth baseball programs.
The stance comes after months of controversy over the lack of activity on the North Richmond ball field and sets the stage finally for youths to play there. Because of construction work and political issues, the field has remained unused since 1996.
"The city's going from a position of being a hindrance to youth baseball to being a help," said Councilman Tom Butt, who led the push for it to become more involved.
Under a plan recently hashed out by members of the recreation department, the Richmond Youth Athletic League and the Police Athletic League, the city plans to set up a nine-member commission to oversee youth baseball.
The commission also will determine how to spend about $33,000 annually in city money for the programs. The funds previously had been used to pay the contract of Ken Nelson, who was hired by the city in 1993 to manage the West County Little League program, which was set up specifically for the North Richmond ball field.
The City Council this year opted not to renew Nelson's contract after questions were raised about his management of the program and about the lack of activity on the field. The inquiries came shortly after Nelson complained about the council's decision to fire former City Manager Floyd Johnson.
Some of the ideas for spending the money include providing stipends for coaches, buying field equipment such as chalk and bases and possibly helping pay for uniforms.
The city and the leagues will make more of an effort to make the North Richmond ball field a part of the games. An effort also will be made to recruit more youths from the area and form a team specifically for the field.
"Definitely we have a desire to put games on that field," James Teixeira of the recreation department said.
The city's decision comes just as the Richmond Youth Athletic Association begins its spring season of Pony League. The city will help with sign-ups at various community centers and officials hope to generate a master list of players.
The city also will help with sign-ups for the Police Activities League teams in the summer, when Pony League season ends. And it plans to offer an in-door baseball clinic.