CLEVELAND – Some Cleveland City Council members are concerned after ongoing controversy could prevent hundreds of downtown teenagers from playing at Talty Field on the Brookside Reservation on the west side of the city.
Brian Kazy, councilor for Ward 16 in Cleveland, told News 5 that Talty Field was being renovated as part of the 2019 All-Star Legacy Initiative by Major Leauge Baseball and Indian legend Jim Thome, on the condition that the field be mostly youthful downtown Cleveland Schools is used.
Kazy said that because the city has been slow to approve and approve baseball for the city this year due to COVID-19 concerns, the Cleveland Metroparks prompted St. Ignatius High School to book lots of appointments for the field in 2021.
He said it could prevent John Marshall and Bard High School students, both in his ward, from taking advantage of the field this year.
“Basically, for the metroparks and the city not to work together, our children have to be kicked off the field,” said Kazy.
“We have West Dennison, we have Tri-Leauge, we have Puritas, all of which are waiting for the city to work out a plan to develop these fields.”
“It is that time of the year that we have to register these youngsters and we, as elected officials, have to affirm that these children have something to do this summer.”
“I hope an agreement can be reached on where our youth can use this field with the Cleveland Municipal School District.”
“The city dragging its feet in leave and it’s not a good view of the metroparks trying to play a big brother.”
Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley agreed and urges the City and Cleveland Metroparks to work out a solution.
“This is too important for adults to mess with a child’s play,” Kelley said.
“Our goal shouldn’t be who gets it and who doesn’t, it should be how we get everyone into this field.”
The Cleveland Metroparks were quick to respond to our story, saying they reached out to the city’s recreation manager multiple times but never received a response.
The Cleveland Metroparks made the following statement:
“There appears to be a misunderstanding about the lease that Cleveland Metroparks has signed with the city. Cleveland Metroparks is committed to supporting all baseball and youth activities in Brookside Park.
Cleveland Metroparks has reached out to the City of Cleveland on multiple occasions to discuss the planning and activation of its youth baseball program and has confirmed that the city had not activated any teams at the time Cleveland Metroparks booked youth games.
We have the ability to program the fields as per the rental agreement and have made progress in this regard as the Cleveland Mayor has not given permission to schedule such activities.
There is still tremendous availability for youngsters to enjoy the fields. We look forward to working with the city when they
Indicate that they want to resume programming and make sure the fields in Brookside are activated and used at the highest level. “
News 5 reached out to the Cleveland Mayor’s office to reach the city’s recreation manager, but we’re still waiting for a response.
Meanwhile, Kazy believes Cleveland’s youth are stalemated.
“While this comes down to who is in the right, and in the legal department, and who can do this, the only people who are hurting this are our children,” Kazy said.