Last week West Chester Borough Council voted unanimously to say goodbye to the West Chester Adult Baseball League. The long-time patrons of the Hoopes Park baseball diamond have worn out their welcome with local residents – including Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste who lives in a nearby neighborhood. The original complaint stemmed from parking as players and spectators often spill into side streets rather than park in a Hoopes Park parking lot designated for their use. In all fairness to players and their fans, said parking lot is adjacent to the first base line, and thus, a prime recipient of foul balls.
Parking, however, it turns out is not the only concern. An investigation by Ward 7 Councilwoman Lisa Dorsey also found allegations of:
- Rude behavior by players and fans
- Trash left strewn all over the field
- Installation of a set of steps without prior Borough Council approval
- Public urination (in the Hoopes Park fields)
- Installation of an irrigation system without prior Borough Council approval
- Regular watering of the field at Borough expense without prior approval
“It feels like blatant negligence of the rental agreement,” Lisa Dorsey said after pointing out it wasn’t much of an agreement at that. The team has been operating under a standard event lease with a back-field handshake agreement that the league will maintain the fields for a discounted usage fee. The team pays $1 a month from May to August to use the field. That’s four whole dollars.
It was not only the league that was in the hot seat, Parks & Rec Director Keith Kurowski also got an earful.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Councilman Bernie Flynn regarding Keith’s handling of the situation. “I stopped short of asking for your resignation.”
As of now, the West Chester Baseball Field’s lease has been terminated – and I believe Keith still has his job. A new agreement will need to be drafted and agreed to by both parties before anyone is saying, “Play ball” in Hoopes Park.
Published, June 30, 2023
This story is part of a longer weekly West Chester newsletter. Curious what else is going on? You can find the full issue here and the latest newsletter here. Even easier? Subscribe here to get the future issues delivered directly.