Thursday, September 28, 2000

Field closed to ballplayers


College Hill neighbors complained about rowdies

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Board of Education has tossed about 350 young baseball players off their College Hill ball field.

        When players showed up for practice Tuesday night, their coach says, they were met by police officers who said they were trespassing.

        Cincinnati firefighter Mike Walker, who coaches the team, says the move puts 39 years of Little League at Crawford Field at risk.

        “We were given no warning,” said Mr. Walker, who is also president of the Hilltop Youth Athletic Association.

        Cincinnati Public Schools spokeswoman Jan Leslie said the lockout comes after years of complaints from neighbors around Pleasant Hill Elementary School, where the field is located.

        She cited incidents of vandalism, players urinating on the field, and blocking access to the school and to the public library next to the school.

        “Last week the board of education called us and asked us to revoke the permit,” said Dianne Hoover, Cincinnati Recreation Commission superintendent.

        She said this late in the season it is hard to find a replacement field for the league; the only other one available is in South Fairmount.

        Ms. Hoover said the district turned over a petition with more than 250 signatures of residents who have complained about the league.

        Mr. Walker acknowledged a few problems in the past, but said he and about seven other coaches — also firefighters and police officers — run a “pretty tight ship.”

        He said the South Fairmount field is not practical because of transportation issues.

       



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