Fairgrounds Field

The City of Shreveport plans to tear down the abandonded Fair Grounds Field, built in 1986.

He wanted to bring baseball -- and other sports -- back to Fair Grounds Field. But Shayne Sharkey believes he's been thrown out at home.

"They're going to tear it down," he said dejectedly following his third appearance before the Shreveport City Council.

It came as a surprise even to Sharkey when it was revealed last week that Proposition 2 in the upcoming bond election includes a million dollars to demolish the abandoned baseball stadium that once was home to the Shreveport Captains AA professional minor league baseball team.

Sharkey had offered to lease the stadium while he operated a non-profit called Play Ball Shreveport. His plan was to raise money through donations and government grants to renovate the rundown stadium, and maintain it. His group would host youth, high school and college baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse tournaments.

Sharkey said it could be an economic plus for the city.

"Our whole purpose originally was to run a sports ministry outreach program through here to be able to have an impact on kids. Because sports is kind of a unifier for all ages. And we just knew we could reach kids and let them know they're loved and cared for," Sharkey said.

Sharkey spoke with Mayor Adrian Perkins before Monday's council meeting. Perkins thanked Sharkey for his study of the challenges facing Fair Grounds Field, then he expanded on the city's plans.

"We've been talking to several entities from sports leagues, to entertainment, developers about that particular property. And in every single conversation it always comes up -- demolition. As soon as they do an analysis of it, it's always, alright, we'll have to demolish it and move forward from there."

So the plan would be to redevelop from the ground up for some unknown future economic development. That's because it would cost millions just to renovate the place back for sports. Sharkey estimates it at up to $7 million. He says eradicating a large bat colony from the stadium would cost about $250,000.

Sharkey says he does not want fans, nostalgic for more baseball or other sports at Fair Grounds Field, to vote against the bond proposition because of the plan to tear down the stadium.

Fair Grounds Field last hosted professional baseball in 2011 with another team that adopted the Shreveport Captains name in the Independent League.

He's unsure if he'll look for a new location for his sports outreach.

The bond election is November 16. Shreveport voters will consider three propositions worth a total of $186 million dollars in citywide capital improvements.

Perkins has said those bonds will be a continuation of expiring mils, and would not raise taxes.


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