Norwalk Little League team calls on Parks Dept. to better maintain ballfield

The Norwalk Little League team says their field, the Broad River Fields, is not fit to play sports in, and the league wants the Parks and Recreation Department to better maintain it.

News 12 Staff

Jul 7, 2020, 7:23 PM

Updated 1,438 days ago

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The Norwalk Little League team says its field, the Broad River Fields, is not fit to play sports on - and it wants the Parks and Recreation Department to better maintain it.
Norwalk Little League parent-volunteer Drew Todd says in the past decade of coaching the team, this is the worst he has seen the field.
He says he understands the pandemic has impacted everyday life, but that a little care on the field would go a long way.
"In all my years this happens to be, this is the worst I've actually seen it," Todd says. "We have weeds growing out of the infield, which definitely should not be happening."
The Parks and Recreation Department says COVID -19 has delayed ballfield maintenance. The work that would have started in March began in June.
Broad River Fields is one of 30 ballparks on rotation that the Parks and Recreation Department is maintaining. Department Director Nick Roberts says they will be out at the field weekly to ensure it's in good playing condition for the team.
"With us not really knowing whether or not we're gonna play games this year, it's been a slow process," Roberts explains. "So we are a little bit late, a little behind the curve, but we are taking the necessary steps to address the concerns."
Roberts says they operated at a 50% staff reduction from March until May, with much of attention going to the heavily frequented parks.
"We were so inundated with the amount of people and usage of our park system under this whole COVID exercise, we've had to move our resources," Roberts says.
In phase two of the COVID recovery plan for the state, Little League teams were allowed to practice starting on June 27. As of Monday, they are allowed to play games with safety precautions still in place on the field.
 
Read the full statement from Parks & Recreation Director Nick Roberts below.
“Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
The last few months has been unprecedented for our Parks Department’s and it has certainly resulted in delays and disruptions to our ballfield maintenance program this year. We implemented staffing and operating protocols under the Covid-19 outbreak which protected our employees from the virus however left us as operating at 50% staff reduction from March through mid May.  During the shutdown, while many residents and visitors took to our parks for recreation and solitude, our sites saw much higher than normal usage. Resources and priorities were shifted to areas of highest need, when we typically would be replacing home plates and bases, cutting out infield grass lips, and removing weeds from our ballfields.
 Since the announcement of the authorization of youth sports in the second phase of State’s reopening plan in late June, we have worked with league officials to prioritize and prepare more than 30 ballfields for 9 different organizations throughout the entire city.  Staff were on hand on Broad River yesterday and cut and sprayed for weeds, tilled and dragged the infield clay, and raked around the bases and home plates. The site will also be added to our weekly mowing cycle and we will reach out to the little league who controls and maintains the irrigation system. Please keep in mind that we have had near drought conditions and watering restrictions may be pending.
In regards to volunteers working on the fields, we do not allow non employees or vendors to operate mowers or any other type of heavy machinery or equipment on City property for liability reasons. We do allow, and welcome, groups and organizations to assist with litter or weed removal as well as raking around the bases, pitching rubber and home plate.   
We have also secured funding for the conversion of the grass fields to turf next year at Broad River and look forward to providing a facility that meet the needs of our youth and community.   
Thanks”
Nick Roberts, MR, CPRP
Director Recreation and Parks
 
 
 
 
 
 


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