City takes over Helena youth leagues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The city of Helena announced last week that it will take over the day-to-day operation of the Helena Youth softball and baseball leagues, which had been run by volunteers for the past 20 years.

A number of volunteers are expressing their concern with decision, arguing that the city does not have the manpower to maintain the city’s three parks that house ballfields: Joe Tucker Park, Penhale Park and the Helena Sports Complex.

&uot;We are happy with this decision if they can provide the needed support to the director of parks and recreation for upkeep and maintenance of the fields,&uot; Youth League board president Stan Cordrey said.

&uot;It’s the city’s responsibility to ensure that the fields are maintained. For the past year and a half, we feel like they have not done a great job.&uot;

Helena Parks and Recreation Director Brian Hayes currently has two people on staff, and Cordrey believes more employees are needed to properly maintain the three parks.

&uot;We want to see the city keep the youth leagues the way they have been for the past 20 years,&uot; he said.

&uot;This includes keeping the ballfields in good condition.&uot;

Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale had not return calls at presstime Tuesday, but weekend media reports said the mayor had promised that more employees would be hired to maintain the parks around the city, including the ballfields.

Penhale said he planned to meet with officials from youth leagues in Pelham and Alabaster to examine their city-run programs.

Nearly 600 kids between the ages of 4-18 participated in Helena youth leagues spring season.

The city is scheduled to take over operations in 2006