Text The Times.
Here’s what everyone is talking about this week:
Our baseball and softball complexes on College Blvd. are being severely neglected and have been for the last 10 years. I was informed that any and all maintenance, renovations and/or additions, must be approved by the Mayor. This, in itself, ties the hands of the park commission and parks director. Baseball and softball are very good programs to have, if you want to boost your economy, due to tournaments, in which outsiders spend money for; hotels, gas, local stores and restaurants. The only issue is that no one wants to come to West Memphis, to play, because our fields are so neglected and a few are dangerous. The high school baseball field has numerous holes and a 5 inch lip around the infield (which can cause injuries). The Tball field has holes everywhere, the 7& 8 field has so many holes that it’s basically a giant game of leap frog. The fencing and screens surrounding all of the fields are falling down and left to rot. Mr. Johnson (Mayor), with you being an elected official, I would assume you’d like to see the city develop and prosper. I believe this would be a step in the right direction, to help kick start some economical growth, that for some reason, has been overlooked for several years. If you’d like an example of how these sports and properly maintained field help the local economy, take a look at Marion and how they maintain their facilities, 4 men keep their facilities immaculate, because they take pride in having something nice for the youth. Teams from all over flock to their events. It’s amazing what happens when you have prideful people taking care of the community. Our youth is the future. Why would they ever consider staying, after they graduate college (or high school, for that matter), if all we have are rundown facilities, for your sports? I’m sure you’re immediately thinking about cost, to maintain the fields, but the city already owns the needed equipment and materials, but need manpower, to properly maintain and repair our damaged fields. One man trying to maintain 10 fields is an impossible task! The parks department desperately needs to hire at least 3 more helpers, to get our complexes back in good condition. The city just needs the mayors approval to do so. “If you build it, they will come” [ Editor’s Note: While I’m sure that with an unlimited budget, the City of West Memphis could make all sorts of fancy renovations and upgrades to the ball fields at Tilden Rodgers Park and the Marion Rose Softball Complex, Parks Director Lorenzo Parker does, at least what I perceive to be, a great job on the fields. And all due credit to Mr. Parker, he is not “ one man trying to maintain 10 fields.” The Parks Department has a whole crew of employees. While you say the fields “ are being severely neglected and have been for the last 10 years,” that’s simply not true. For at least the past few years, there have been numerous improvement projects at the parks, to the fields, the facilities, the sidewalks, etc., and while there’s always going to be wear and tear and problems that pop up from time to time, the city has worked to keep the parks in shape. My daughter played softball there in the fall and even though it was at the end of the summer and a whole season’s worth of ball had already been played there ( including baseball, softball and soccer across several age groups, I didn’t notice anything that bad. I will admit, I did not really pay attention to the field the high school baseball team uses, so I can’t attest to its condition. I do know that funds are appropriated to the Parks Department each year and there is only so much money available, so major projects do have to wait, but the new Adaptive Field is great. If you want to draw a comparison between the fields in West Memphis and Marion, I will point out that it is next to impossible to get on a field in Marion, while the fields in West Memphis are, generally open to the public year- round, so I’m not sure I’d want to sacrifice availability for greener grass that my kids can’t get on]
*** I just do not understand why kids that disrupt school and disrespect teachers and other adults can’t be kicked out? Why should all the good kids that are there to learn be interrupted from learning? Until we good parents stand up it will continue. [Editor’s Note: Like anything else in the world these days, there is a process in place for handling disruptive students, and in this day of lawsuits and special snowflakes, it’s not easy to prove that a student is worthy of expulsion. While there are certainly some instant “death penalty” situations that would warrant immediate expulsion, what I think you’re primarily talking about are chronic troublemakers that, while certainly a problem, aren’t really flirting with anything that would get them expelled. There are things like in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, detention, parent meetings and such that are used to curtail such behavior, but with some students, it doesn’t mean anything. They have been conditioned, either through a lack of discipline at home, a need for attention even if it’s negative, or unidentified behavioral disorders, to act out regardless of consequences. I know that’s an over- simplification of a complex issue, some students, from kindergarten right up through high school, aren’t there to learn and/ or aren’t afraid of any consequences of their behavior. The Alternative School can serve as a dumping ground for those students completlely uninterested in getting an education. And while that doesn’t really address the problem, it does get some of the worst of the worst out of the classroom. I’d be interested in what “ we good parents” would be interested in doing to “ stand up” though]