Tucson Parks and Rec bracing for more cutsPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson's budget was tentatively approved on Tuesday. Now groups across the city are bracing for impact.
There are still a few weeks before city council approves its final budget.
Young ball players at a city park are mostly interested in playing baseball; enjoying the game and the lessons it teaches. Few, if any, are concerned about city budgets.
But they may be concerned about sub-par fields.
Parks and Recreation is forced to do more with less. Not an easy thing to do. Grass dies, fences crumble, and there's no money to keep the lights on.
"Bottom line is, fields have dilapidated to a point after years and years of cuts," said Tucson city council member Paul Cunningham.
And this year Parks and Rec is taking another hit. They're facing a $3 million budget cut.
"That equates to manpower. Those dollars are really people," said E.J. Causbie from Little League District 12.
Park workers won't be around to maintain the fields to keep them in playable condition.
"With less manpower to do things, we're going to have to rely more on parent volunteers and that's getting harder and harder to do," said Causbie.
The problem is little league volunteers and coaches are already overburdened.
"We rake fields. We cut grass. We water grass when waters available. We stripe the fields," said Causbie.
It's those little things that keep kids on the field, that keep them playing ball and out of trouble.
"I know how important that is," said Cunningham.
Coaches know the city is doing all it can in a tough financial spot.
"Problem is, resources aren't there," said Cunninham.
The fields may get worse, but little league baseball isn't going anywhere.
"We'll play ball. We'll find a place to play ball. Kids will play ball in the street on sandlots and dirt lots. We will find a place play," said Causbie.
Parks and Rec has been doing a great job with very few resources. One park, for example, has no power. It'll cost about $200,000 to fix that. And that's just money they don't have right now.