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Montesano needs to do the right thing to let us put turf on the ballfields

I am writing this letter to voice my displeasure with how the Montesano City Council is handling the situation involving Nelson and Crait fields.

As some of you know, the Montesano Girls Softball Association and Montesano Little League have looked into putting synthetic turf on their fields. This subject has brought up an issue of whether or not to let the user groups lock the fields they use to keep their investment safe and to keep dogs, vandalism and other unsafe activities out of the fields. This subject has been discussed at length and seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Back to the turf: Both organizations have come to the city’s “Parks Board” with their plan to put turf on the fields, at NO COST to the city. This would be a $450,000 project all funded by the user groups. In return, we asked that we, the user groups, handle the usage of the parks and be allowed to lock the gates, again to protect our investment.

This change not only helps the young kids play more games but there would be enough turf to put in the infield at Hyde Field to help the high school team have a better surface to pratice and play on. The high school girls also play games at Crait. The benefits of this investment are more than just a good playing surface. It will save the city money on mowing, fertilizing, watering and bringing in dirt, not to mention the possibility the tournaments brought to Montesano, which could create new revenue to the businesses of this great city nine months out of the year.

We understand that the city technically owns these fields, but in reality they were left to the city for the purpose of baseball. They are not soccer fields or bike tracks. They are not beaches for kids to come make sand or mud castles. They aren’t for football or Frisbee, and they certainly are not meant to be a place to run your dogs. They are for baseball or softball. We aren’t asking for total control. We are asking that the integrity of the ballfields be respected and that the user groups, the people willing to raise money and fully fund this endeavor without city money, be able to do the scheduling to ensure the investment not be ruined.

I know there are questions like: What about soccer? From what I have been told, there is land called Beacon Park that needs to be developed. I say the city could use the money they have put aside for the baseball parks and use it for that purpose. I also suggest that the Soccer Association do fundraising and help with that development. Our parks maintenance is fully funded by the two user groups. These two parks are landmarks in Montesano, a place where all kids are welcome to play the American pastime. We are asking that the city allow us to bring our facilities into the 21st century and put Montesano on the map.

Steve Bove is the President of the Montesano Little League.