Supervisors address tournament problems at community park

Shawn Hardy

Areas outside the parking lots at Antrim Township Community Park are being designated tow-away zones and prices are being sought for an emergency public address system for the park.

Those moves came at last week's meeting of township supervisors, where problems during a July 11-12 softball tournament were discussed.

Township supervisors are happy to see young people, like the girls in fast-pitch softball tournaments sponsored by the United State Specialty Sports Association, use the park.

They aren't so happy with some of the fans.

USSSA representatives, including Jeff Moose, central and western Pennsylvania state fastpitch director, and Troy Yingling, who handles local maintenance, were asked to attend last week's supervisors' meeting concerning problems at a tournament the weekend before.

Supervisors got calls saying, "It's out of control, it's out of hand," said Pat Heraty, chairman of the supervisors, who lives near the Grant Shook Road park.

Heraty and other supervisors went to the park that weekend and saw people parking on the grass, some pulling off Grant Shook Road and putting up canopies, at least one of which was on the shared use trail.

Cigarette butts also littered the park after the tournament and trash cans were overflowing and surrounded by trash when there was a Dumpster nearby.

Heraty said he saw one person "drinking beer in our park. That can't ever happen again."

Moose agreed and said alcohol is prohibited by USSSA rules.

Supervisors were upset people parked on the grass when there were empty spaces in the parking lots.

"Parking on the grass is becoming a big problem" said Supervisor Fred Young. "When it's dry like this, it's killing it."

Moose said when he learned about the parking problem, text messages were sent to each team.

"That shouldn't be your job, it should be common sense," Young said.

"It baffles me, the lack of respect. What are we teaching our kids?" commented Supervisor Rick Baer, adding, "We want to work together and keep going."

"We don't want to see you guys leave ... there are just some really bad guests," Heraty said.

"We love this park, this came as a shock to me and will be addressed with teams," Moose said.

The complaints went both ways, with Moose explaining equipment USSSA stores at the park was moved without telling him and there has been a lack of communication from the township.

USSSA holds tournaments with 20 to 24 teams from Pennsylvania and surrounding states at the Antrim Township park many weekends during the spring, summer and fall, according to Moose, who noted USSSA also uses other local fields including Norlo Park, St. Thomas, Guilford and Greenvillage.

During the week, the Antrim Township fields are reserved for local teams.

"I love this park, its a win-win," Moose said. He said it will help if the township puts up signs about parking and he will address the issues of parking on the grass, cigarette butts and beer with the teams.

"I'm local. I'm all about this park ... I get so many compliments," said Yingling. His daughter, Mariah Hill, is the Antrim site director for the tournaments and he coached when she was younger and played on a traveling softball team.

"I will take care of your park because it's my park, too," Yingling said.

As the result of the discussion, supervisors authorized Solicitor John Lisko to prepare an ordinance making any areas outside the designated parking lots at the park tow-away zones.

At the suggestion of Supervisor John Alleman, who also serves as the township's emergency management coordinator, Rodney Eberly, parks director, will get pricing an emergency public address system. It would be used in emergency situations and to make announcements such as vehicles parked where they shouldn't be.

Looking ahead to budget time, Heraty also said security cameras should be considered for the park.