Grand Terrace Little League loses fields
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
GRAND TERRACE - The city is working to help Grand Terrace Little League build its field of dreams.
League officials are scrambling for places to play because the Colton Joint Unified School District is taking two of their three fields at Pico Park to build a new high school.
The fields are on a L-shaped parcel that the city sold to the district in 2006 for the high school.
The 67-acre campus, called Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex, is slated to open in fall 2011 at the corner of Pico and Taylor streets.
District officials told the league they need to start moving dirt next week in preparation for construction of the school.
"They are fencing us off on Tuesday," said Russ Sulzmann, the league's softball representative. "We knew we were going to lose the fields, but we didn't know we would lose them halfway through our season."
The league's season ends in mid-June, he said.
Jaime Ayala, the district's assistant superintendent for business services, said the district let the league hang on to the fields as long as possible.
"It's an unfortunate situation," Ayala said. "I can imagine how those poor kids feel. But construction has to happen like clockwork or we're going to lose our two-year building schedule." The league, which serves about 350 boys and girls ages 6 and 14, moved some of its games to Loma Linda because of the field situation.
The older boys division is also traveling to Rialto, Colton and other cities for games.
City officials are working with the league to find a solution.
The city owns adjacent vacant property north of the park that it could let the league use on a temporary basis, officials said. The city is hoping to eventually use the land for part of the so-called Grand Crossings retail and residential project.
Acting City Manager Steve Berry said the city has park funds that could be used to help the league put in grass, an irrigation system and backstops on the property.
"We're working diligently with the Little League to help them out on this," Mayor Maryetta Ferre said. "It's a problem that needs to be solved."
The city has a joint-use agreement with the district to share field space once the high school opens.
But Ayala said playing fields for high school baseball have different dimensions than Little League fields.
"If there's anything we can do to assist in that area, we will," Ayala said. "To say the district will provide Little League fields, I don't see that happening."
Sulzmann said he is worried that many parents will drop out of the league next year if there aren't enough fields.
"It will be a sad thing," Sulzmann said. "We don't want to see Grand Terrace Little League go bye-bye."