Austin ball fields could get much-needed upgrades

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department has a plan in the works that would mean more money for all youth sports organizations throughout the city. As part of the plan, the youth organizations would no longer have to pick up the tab for things like utilities and maintenance.

The budget for playing fields is currently 7.6 million, the Parks and Recreation department wants to ask city officials for an extra $500,000 dollars a year.

McNeely says, “We have the equipment, we have the skills, we have the knowledge…why would we not want to give to our partners who are giving so much to children?” said Kimberly McNeely, the department’s assistant director. “We believe it’s a win, win. It’ll help the kids playing organized sports and neighbors who just want to have fun to be ensured they’ll have a nice playing field.”

The city’s youth sports organizations currently cover the costs for everything, including maintaining the 120 playing fields throughout the city. McNeely wants city officials to pick up that cost and allow the extra money to be spent on things like kids jerseys or equipment.

“For every fee the children are assessed to play in a league, part of that money goes to help maintain the fields,” McNeely adds.

The best part, McNeely says, is it wouldn’t cost parents any extra money. Austin City Council still has to approve this plan and if it passes it would take effect sometime next year.

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