NEW GARDEN – KAU little league has been a well-known name in the area for dozens of years. They pride themselves on allowing children, both boys and girls, to play tee ball, softball and baseball from ages 4 to 18.
As long as they reside in or attend schools in the Kennett Consolidated or Unionville-Chadds Ford school districts, they are eligible to take part.
KAU practices and plays in fields in the area, but have recently come across a problem, which they brought up to the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors March 24.
There has been an arrangement in place between the township and KAU to allow them to use these fields, which had either previously existed or been built.
“My only comment would be from time to time, we’ve had an issue with those other soccer nets,” said John Tucker, president of KAU. “I don’t know if it’s the organized club of White Clay or some other group’s soccer nets, but we found that our portable fence out there gets sometimes uprooted and moved and sometimes gets cut and moved so that they can have a full-court soccer game.”
Tucker approached the board to look at a way to fix the situation by possibly moving the soccer nets to a different part of the field.
“As long as they respect the boundaries and integrity of the field, it’s not that bothersome to let them stay there,” Tucker said.
But it quickly turned from that issue to KAU’s use of scheduling outside groups from using the field.
“To the best of my knowledge, the way it’s worded is that KAU little league would maintain the fields during our season, but when we’re not using it, it’s open for any private citizen to come play ball (or) play catch,” Tucker said. “We’ve been mindful of that. We continue to have many time slots on one of the fields.”
Residents in attendance, however, disagreed.
One said he was contacted by someone living in the township who was upset over being turned away from using one of the fields and another resident wanted to know why one field couldn’t always be open for others.
“To leave one field open all the time would be a problem,” Tucker said. “We built the second field so that there would be two and we needed it. It’s one thing if it’s a church group. It’s another thing if it’s a competing sports organization that’s siphoning players from our league to a private organization who wants to use the fields we built.”
KAU, who is responsible for scheduling outside organizations or private parties, isn’t comfortable with allowing other little leagues the use of its fields, something which the residents aren’t too happy about.
“There is a mindset that, while we are thankful for the land that was given to us and the ability to build a field there, we as a group have invested over $25,000 for KAU and the general public to use the fields. Not so much for a competing little league organization to use the field.”