BW still looking to expand ball fields

BLYTHEWOOD – For at least five years, town council has, off and on, been looking at ways to expand and improve the ball fields available to Bly­thewood baseball and softball teams. While the county made several hundred thousand dollars of improvements to the town’s current (county-owned) ball fields about four years ago, adding new fencing and restrooms, it did not add ball fields.

Golf Club of South Carolina proposed for Blythewood ball fields.

During council members’ comment time at the July coun­cil meeting, Councilman Bryan Franklin, whose children play on the fields, brought up once again the town’s need for more ball fields.

“Ten days ago, the last of our Bly­thewood Youth Baseball teams fin­ished their run for the Dixie Youth Little League World Series,” Franklin said. “Four of our teams made it to state playoffs this year. With the help of Town Administrator Brian Cook, we are going to go to the Richland County Recreation Commission with some of our statistics on the last five years and how good our teams have gotten and how badly we need an upgrade of our Blythewood Park fields.”

Franklin said he had received some communications from Crickentree residents that, since the golf course in the Crickentree neighborhood had gone into foreclosure, it would make a great venue to put some ball fields on the course.

“I know that’s not in the town lim­its,” Franklin said, “but it’s a great idea. If we can’t get Richland County to move forward with more fields in Blythewood, then maybe we can get them to create a few new fields in some of those open [golf course] spaces,” Franklin said. He said Katie Rummel, secretary of the Blythewood Youth Baseball and Softball League, suggested that youth ball fields might be preferable for those concerned res­idents of Crickentree neighborhood who own property right on the golf course and are worried about homes being built on the course.

Rummel told The Voice that she hopes the county, as a preventative measure, might buy the golf course property and use it to build a new sports complex for all sports including baseball, softball, lacrosse, football, soccer, etc.

Franklin said he plans, with Cook, to take some of these ideas to the county.

Another option for more ball fields, Franklin told The Voice, is the prop­erty where Bethel-Hanberry sits if and when the school district rebuilds the school on property behind the current school building and demolishes the current building.

“When that happens,” Franklin said, “I would like to see that property used for more ball fields. That would help expand the current overcrowded park.”

Franklin said he is working on an opportunity to go before the Richland County Recreation Commission and discuss these issues in depth.


Speak Your Mind