Marion officials looking for ways to utilize K&R Park

Marion officials looking for ways to utilize K&R Park

O’Neal appeals to council: ‘ I’m just seeing if we can keep those fields open’

Marion may open up the batting cages at K& R Park and possibly add basketball goals in the parking lot.

Resident Lisa O’Neal, who also serves on the county Quorum Court, asked the City Council if they would be willing to let residents use the batting cages and open it up for more recreation opportunities for area youth.

“It is a good park,” O’Neal said. “I was just wanting to know if we could use some of that parking lot for some basketball goals and a volleyball net for citizens to use.”

O’Neal said she spoke with Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rawls and was told that there are already a couple of teams that use K& R Park for Tball. She said it would be a good thing for the city if they could utilize it for other activities as well.

“There was a little boy playing out there on some junior grade basketball net that I talked to,” O’Neal said. “Even if the field is only being used a couple of times, there is still plenty of times that that the whole parking lot is not being used. There used to be a tennis court and a parking lot.”

O’Neal also asked if the city would unlock the park so people can use the batting cages to practice.

“Since we have so many fields that are awesome for competition, I was wondering if we could use that ball field unlocked for kids to practice because we have kids everywhere this time of year on every piece of green grass there is. I know we have some batting cages that will need some work.

But it would be nice if we could use those batting cages.”

O’Neal said she has had several coaches ask what they need to do in order to use the field.

“I’m just seeing if we can keep those fields open,” O’Neal said. “It’s a nice field that has been used and loved and maybe we can just open if up anytime someone wants to practice and get the cages to a position where we can use them again.”

Mayor Frank Fogleman K&R

said the city left the gates unlocked in the past but had to lock them due to vandalism.

“We used to leave them unlocked,” Fogleman said.

“But the vandalism brought us to the point where the upkeep became a problem.

Maybe folks are not as vandal minded today as they once were.”

Fogleman said the city also tried basketball goals there as well, but decided that it too created not necessarily vandalism, but so many problems at the park.

“Nobody wanted it in the neighborhood,” Fogleman said. “There were complaints on that. Its been done in the past but we got away from it.”

O’Neal suggested putting a sign up with a phone number for residents or coaches to call and allowing them to schedule a time to use the batting cages.

“Maybe they can call Andy if they want to get a key and use it for practice,” O’Neal said.

Rawls said the city currently keeps Colonial Park unlocked for residents to use because most of the other ballfields are used by MYSA (Marion Youth Sports Association) teams for practice.

“We keep it unlocked for that purpose so if some dad or kids or whoever just wants to go out there and throw some balls around, they can do that,” he said Councilman David Bigger said he would not be opposed to opening up the batting cages at K& R and suggested they bring it to the Parks Commission for study.

“The parks commission could visit with them and have a discussion on it,” Bigger said.

By Mark Randall