Renovated baseball fields sit mostly empty in Dellwood -

Renovated baseball fields sit mostly empty in Dellwood

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A person spraying the grass at the Dellwood baseball fields (Credit: KMOV) A person spraying the grass at the Dellwood baseball fields (Credit: KMOV)

It was supposed to be a field of dreams. Instead, the recently renovated baseball fields in Dellwood Park sit empty most days, with weeds creeping their way back.

A year ago, there was a big community effort to turn the grassy lot into a playable space for neighborhood kids. The hope was that the field could help bridge the gap between police and youth but both aspects of the project seem to be a work in progress.

“It’s a growth process. We understand it’s slow but we are committed to the hard work to put into it,” said Capt. Norman Mann, who is on the executive board for the St.  Louis County Police Athletic League (PAL).

His teams planned to call Dellwood Park home.

“Going back to 2014 with the civil unrest, this corridor was devastated by the unrest so we wanted to make this the hub for rebirth and revitalization and we wanted to bring baseball back to North County so we wanted to use this as our hub,” said Capt. Mann.

The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) played a big role in getting the fields ready for PAL and any neighborhood kids who want to play ball. They, along with along other businesses, donated thousands of dollars in time and equipment to laser grade the field, set bases and make a fence line. STMA leaders said it was still worth it.

“Absolutely,” said Mark Galentine, “It’s for the boys and girls of the community. That’s why we did it. So they have a place to come out and play. I just wish there was more baseball on the fields.”

The City of Dellwood’s Parks and Recreation director, Marvin Crumer, told News 4 he’s gotten phone calls about the fields and seen kids playing on it, but no teams regularly held games or practices here. Only one of PAL’s three teams practiced at Dellwood Park this summer. PAL leaders say construction on the parking lot largely deterred them.

With little action or attention, weeds started to grow again in the infield. Still, it remains playable.

“It’s coming around. If you look at the full picture of it, it looks great. There are just a few things we have to do to get it just a little bit better,” said Galentine.

Galentine said he has been in touch with Crumer this summer about addressing the weeds. Dellwood’s Parks and Recreation director said his office ended up buying a groomer to help maintain the infield but he said they are simply short staffed. He also added they didn’t do enough to market the fields ahead of the summer to bring in teams and tournaments, which would then bring in revenue.

All the parties involved in the renovation tell us they hope next summer will be different, and better.

“Now that all the renovations are done here at the park, we are going full fledge ahead,” said Capt. Mann.

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