Teamwork for Team Sports: Tigard Little League
Mayor Cook, as part of proclaiming April as Play Ball Month, points to opening day as the start of a busy season in Tigard city parks. “In keeping with the enjoyment to be found in our national pastime, Opening Day for Tigard Little League (April 7, 2018) signals the beginning of a season of enjoyment in city parks and school fields.”
Tigard has nine sports fields available for rent and Josh Breese, Tigard Little League President, appreciates having every one.
“From the Mayor on down, there is a love of baseball and an appreciation for youth sports in the parks division,” says Breeze. “Coaches and volunteers pitch in, but the fields are constantly maintained by the city. They take care of the mowing, seeding, fertilizing and watering. If we need something, they are always amenable and respond in a timely manner.”
According to Breeze, Tigard’s Little League is the largest in Oregon – with over 550 kids from ages 5-13 who will play this season; almost all of whom will play in Cook Park at some point.
The Challenges of Maintaining BallFields
“Irrigation is an essential part of parks maintenance,” according to Martin McKnight, Parks Supervisor. “Sports are important to our community and turf and field maintenance help to ensure safety during play.”
McKnight notes that maintenance standards for ball fields are time intensive and call for efforts like mowing, fertilization, overseeding, coring, and topdressing. The sports fields at Cook Park alone are mowed more than 50 times per year.
With the city facing cutbacks, sports field maintenance may be at risk. So while Breeze dreams of more practice time and the addition of lights and a synthetic turf fields at Cook Park, McKnight is planning for budget cuts that may include not irrigating the lawn areas at parks like Cook and Summerlake.
Parks maintenance in Tigard is funded at a level that is 62 percent of the national average. The city has taken measures to cut costs over the last decade, including deferring needed repairs. Tigard currently spends $3,645 per acre to maintain parks and open spaces; the national average is $5,866 per acre.