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Santa Maria residents concerned over softball field construction

Posted at 11:11 PM, Oct 02, 2019

The dirt infields at Minami and Simas fields in Santa Maria will soon be replaced with grass.

The City of Santa Maria says this will allow other sports to use the fields, but some residents are frustrated because they say finding a baseball field to practice on can already be an issue.

America's past time, baseball is one of the most popular sports in the country, but Santa Maria residents say removing two more softball fields will make it harder to play the game.

"If you guys keep taking ours away, we're not going to be able to play no more," said Santa Maria resident Carlos Lopez.

The City of Santa Maria wants to create more multi-purpose fields that have turf instead of a dirt infield, which other sports such as soccer and lacrosse can use.

Aaron Rice, president of Northside Little League, says teams and players already struggle finding a place to play.

Rice says if there aren't places to practice and play it could result in fewer people willing to join the sport.

"That's my frustration, even as president of Northside. Where am I going to practice as president? We'll just go find a green piece of grass over there. Everybody needs infield," said Rice.

Alex Posada, recreation and parks director with the City of Santa Maria, says that after the schools in the district closed their fields to the public, it put a burden on the city.

Posada says the City has focused on creating fields that several sports can use.

"What we're trying to do is look at how do we expand field opportunities for the community and then have enough space so that all the sports can still practice and have their league play and things," said Posada.

Rice says without Minami and Simas parks fields will be even more packed.

"It's going to be real tough for those teams to find areas to play at. There's no areas for baseball," said Rice.

Santa Maria residents are scheduling a protest next week in front of the City's parks and rec building.

They say it's an effort to stand up and protect their fields.

The protest is scheduled for Monday from 4 p.m to 8 p.m.