Worried that construction of a new school next door may create a ball field shortage, the Forestville Little League is pondering the possibility it may cease to exist.
“We haven’t heard anything at all that our fields are getting saved,” said Dale Akerley, a board member of the 55-year-old Little League.
Akerley said that Forestville’s directors are reaching out to McCabe-Waters and Edgewood Little Leagues about the prospect of splitting its territory between the two. It’s even planning games with Edgewood teams to begin tearing down long-standing walls.
But it’s not clear the concern is justified.
“They’re not going to have to shut down,” school Superintendent Philip Streifer said Friday.
Streifer said that two fields used by the league won’t be touched at all. Two others won’t be available during construction of the new kindergarten to eighth grade school, but once it’s done, they’ll still be accessible.
But Akerley said he’s been told the new school, slated to open by 2015, will need a soccer field, girls’ softball field and a baseball diamond configured for older students. It won’t have a field suitable for Little League, he said.
That would leave only the two fields at Peck Park, behind the school, one of which is for the Little League and the other for softball.
There are no plans to reconstruct Peck Park as part of the $130 million project to build two new K-8 schools in town.
Mayor Art Ward said he’s heard nothing about problems that may impact the Forestville Little League.
“Those concerns have never been brought to my attention,” he said. “I was under the impression that Little League was going to be accommodated very well.”
Ward said that if the project was going to make it hard on the league, officials would address it.
“We aren’t sure what is going on,” Akerley said.
Streifer said he believes the Forestville School Building Committee has been working with the league all along.
He said there was a point earlier in the planning process where officials thought they might have to take the league’s fields, but that was shelved at least a year ago. If it had gone forward, he said, the plan included buying an alternative site for the Forestville Little League to use.
More than 300 children play in the Forestville Little League, which has been around since 1954. In 1976, its all-star team made it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
The school project includes another K-8 building on Chippens Hill. The existing Greene-Hills School on Pine Street would be torn down to make way for the new building.
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