Tired of getting batted around to different fields across town, a new girls softball league is eyeing the possibility of creating a softball complex at the long-neglected Kern Park.
“We just want our own facility,” said Tom Tabacco of the Bristol Girls Softball League. “The girls don’t have anything in this town.”
The Park Board agreed Wednesday to have one of its subcommittees explore the possibility of allowing new softball fields at Kern Park, which is located between Ivy Drive School and the Big Lots store on Farmington Avenue.
“The space is available and nothing is there at the present time,” Mayor Art Ward said.
He said the softball complex, which would initially include two fields and a concession stand, would help “clean it up” and put the park to use.
But Mary Rydingsward, an environmentalist who helped preserve the park when the city considered selling a chunk of it to a developer, said that the entire 29-acre park is a crucial watershed ecosystem that shouldn’t be turned into playing fields.
There are about 200 girls playing Little League girls softball, Tabacco said.
The new league was created this year, he said, to replace small softball programs that each of the three traditionally boys Little Leagues in town had developed for girls.
He said there is a major donor who will help building the new fields and state grants are also likely.
The way it is now, Tabacco said, is that the girls teams are shuffled all over town to grab fields that aren’t in use by one of the many baseball teams. They don’t have a home of their own, he said, and until this year they also had to make do with equipment castoffs from the boys.
Though the softball league is a newcomer, its all-star teams competed well with other leagues in the state. Its 11 and 12-year-old team came within one game of winning the state title, Tabacco said.
He said the league would like to get space for as many as four fields, even if only two are slated for construction for now, as well as enough parking.
“We’re just trying to get something for girls,” Tabacco said. “We’re just looking for land.”
Tabacco said he’s never even been to Kern Park. He said that Ward and Park Director Ed Swicklas suggested it as a potential site.
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