Parks budget increase to help with softball field maintenance

Thousands of people in Albuquerque are taking the field these days for the city’s spring softball league. 

There are more than 230 teams playing in the spring league, but with the millions the city has to keep up the fields, some players are wondering why the fields aren’t in better shape.

“Some fields are good, some fields are bad,” Casey Swanson with the Beer Takers said. “It can affect the game and hurt yourself.”

KRQE News 13 checked them out and found some problem spots, from a gaping hole in left field at one diamond at Bullhead Park to a balding and uneven outfield at Tingley, and much of the same at the Barelas fields.

“Some are better than others, but I think some of that is crabgrass,” Chuck Jagers with the Papa Murphy’s team said.

“They need as much help as they can get with these fields,” Swanson added.

Parks and Rec said an incoming 11-percent increase in the department’s $36 million budget should go a long way to help, including the addition of four more maintenance workers.

“We always need more help, but I think in general, the fields are in pretty good shape, and we get some positive feedback. We want to do a better job,” Parks and Rec Director Peter Simon said. “One of the things we want to do is take better care of some of the restrooms that are at some of the softball fields, and we are looking to reopen and take good care of those bathrooms that the players do really appreciate.”

A city umpire said despite hearing complaints, he’s noticed big improvements from years past.

“We used to get a lot of water from the sprinklers that would almost get the field too wet to play,” Jagers stated.

Parks and Rec said in total, it has anywhere from six to eight field maintenance workers taking care of all those softball fields.

“They are out there striping fields, leveling these fields, taking care of fields and turning them over for the next teams that come in later in the day,” Simon said.

Parks and Rec says people can always report issues with the fields to the department.

In addition to Parks and Rec budget, the department also collects a lot of money from teams.

The city said it has about 7,100 softball players a year who pay anywhere from $80 to $110 each, money earmarked for field maintenance.

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