#City & Town Planning
United States of America

Please help stop the removal of grass from the infields of Kasting Park baseball diamonds.
Seymour Park and Rec dept have recently voted and approved the removal of grass infields to the Seymour Youth baseball diamonds at Kasting Park. This decision was made without the community knowing that removal of the grass would push Seymour Youth Baseball to Shields Park. The reason for the removal was to create a more viable $$$ money making opportunity for travel softball. Seymour currently has softball fields at Kessler Park, Gaiser Park, Freeman Field, and 2 at Kasting Park. Shields park has been mainly used as practice diamonds. Seymour Youth Baseball has been conducting most of its play on 2 diamonds at Kasting park.
The baseball community of Seymour past and present need to unite to tell our city that we want baseball to continue in Seymour, on a grass field, in a safe environment. We will not accept anything less in our great community.
The city is promising a new sports complex to accommodate youth baseball, but until the new fields are ready to play on, we want to keep the parks as they are.

Kasting Park Field Petition

The community of Seymour, IN would like to file a petition to stop the skinning of the grass infields at Kasting Park Diamonds 1 and 4. There are many reasons that we feel this is important and request more information and more discussion as a community before any decision is rendered.

To the knowledge of the concerned, no detailed cost/revenue analysis has been done or presented to anyone to show that this decision will make more money than the current setup. The Tribune article mentions that the number of teams playing in 2016 was 300 and the number of teams that played in 2017 was 500. So the number of teams almost doubled from last year to this year with the current setup?? And we need to make a change?? A large contributor of this increase was the USSSA baseball tournaments that were ran at Kasting Park this year. They did not rent the fields in 2016 and rented them 4 times in 2017. The momentum was building….and now, Park & Rec has offered to sod the diamonds at Shields Park so we can still have baseball fields. This leads to the next extensive list of concerns.
No tournament director will ever want to host a tournament at Shields Park. The parking is non existent. Gate fees cannot be charged. It is unsafe. The fields do not meet Little League standards. The restrooms are so long of a walk that they put a porta pot by the road. This is also now where the 9/10/11/12 year old boys are supposed to play their youth league games. What will happen when one of these boys hits a home run into the skate park? A serious injury? A lawsuit? The Park & Rec board has agreed to moving the fences back at Shields Little and in at Shields Big diamonds. If this is true, why were new scoreboards installed on August 8, 2017?

The Seymour Youth League has worked for years to host District games and the current setup allows us to do so. The league has hosted a state tournament with a promise of another in 2019. The city will lose that hosting ability if baseball is moved to Shields Park as the dugouts on both diamonds are sub-standard for Little League and the
dimensions of both diamonds are not at Little League standards. Further,
Seymour lost the chance to host a Little League state tournament this year
(2017) because the Park & Rec had scheduled travel tournaments over the
time frame of the Little League tournament although the city's tournament
director had been made aware of the state tournament the previous two years.

The Park and Rec director has stated that the League could play 11-12 on
just the big diamond. However, due to pitching rules in Little League that
scheduling is simply not feasible. Both the 11-12 league and the 9-10
league need two diamonds to get the proper number of games in while still
following the pitching rules. Again, regarding moving the fences, is it even possible to move the fence to 225’ with the skate park? The future of the Seymour Youth League is being put in jeopardy with these decisions.

Ultimately, as the numbers from the Tribune article point out, travel baseball and softball are transforming the sport. If the city rents the fields for the same amount of money to a baseball director as a softball director, they should be indifferent as to who rents the fields. If the fields are basically rented almost every weekend of the year, how will the city make all this additional money by skinning the fields? The additional money is already rolling into our community. If it is regarding the tournaments that the city hosts, maybe they should reach out to some of those in the baseball community or the youth board to run joint tournaments instead of relying on the Park & Rec employee who only has softball contacts to support their logic. What would happen if that employee quit and those contacts dried up? Would this still be the right decision?

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The SAVE SEYMOUR YOUTH BASEBALL petition to Andrewjbotkin@gmail.com was written by Andrew J Botkin and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.