Softball players concerned about field maintenance at Eldridge Park

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Warmer weather is bringing adult softball leagues back to the diamond. But, maintenance concerns at Eldridge Park are forcing them to play through unfavorable and sometimes dangerous conditions.

Excessive rainfall has opened eyes to maintenance issues at the Eldridge Park softball fields. The fields have a reputation of withholding water even after several days of sunshine.

"It always seems to retain water when it rains," veteran softball player, Dave Hammon said. "Field one seems to be okay, except for the batter's box. Field three turns into a lake, even with a quick downpour on a summer's day."

Since the players are eager to hit the diamond, they'll attempt to play through these conditions, which can create even more issues with the fields. You can find standing water in left field and a crater at the pitcher's mound. 

"That's really the same thing throughout these fields," veteran softball player, Bob Boyle said. "You get these wet fields that nobody takes care of, they get real rough and that creates a lot of bad hops. This is rec league softball but we've still got some big hitters out here. It's real easy to get somebody hurt."

The players are asking the City of Elmira for help in addressing these concerns. 

"It's really frustrating because there's a lot of guys, from most of the teams out here, that would come out here and do whatever work is necessary," Boyle said. "If they would leave some equipment around. Maybe give the keys to the guys that run the league? Something like that."

Elmira's Building and Grounds Department referred comment to the City Manager, who also wants players to enjoy the park.

"Anybody that volunteers with the city, does need to sign off on a waiver," Elmira City Manager, Michael Collins said. "So, what I would recommend is that the individual that is interested in doing this, should contact me directly at City Hall and get that paperwork process started. And, if they are interested in volunteering, at that point, we would review what equipment they could possibly use or not use."

The City Manager said he was unaware of some of the issues raised by the players and plans to address them.

Both the players and City Manager agree that if the fields were properly maintained, the park could host additional events. 

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