Quality of life is a big deal for people and businesses looking to come or even stay in Shreveport.

And one of the areas that's supposed to add to our quality of life, may be falling short in some cases.

Independence Stadium and Fairgrounds Field, both owned by the city, but only one gets some use, the other left to deteriorate.

Fairgrounds Field, more than 20 years ago when the city still had a minor league baseball team, was full of people and giving families in our area something to do, pumping dollars back into our local economy.

Fairgrounds Field today, is empty and useless.

Some people want to restore it while city officials say that task turns up more questions than answers.

"It's a $3 million dollar facility that if you had to replace it, it would probably cost $6-10. Why tear it down?" said Sam Stroop. He wants to see Fairgrounds Field returned to it's glory days or at least have it be a refuge for local kids. "Not pro level, who cares about the pros when we have kids that want to play there and it's the kids that are most important."

But city officials say that's still a problem that they can't afford because it would still cost up to $5 million dollars that the city doesn't have to make the park accessible to people with disabilities.

And that doesn't include getting rid of those pesky bats -- the flying kind -- that have plagued the park for years, that's an extra $600,000 dollars. Ronnie Hammond, Assistant to the Director of SPAR said in a previous interview, "The bat problem down here at the stadium is nothing new. I believe from the onset we had a bat infestation out here."

It would cost $400,000 to demolish Fairgrounds Field, but then that would leave the area as an unused flatland.

It costs $200,000 to maintain it but this isn't money the city is actually spending on the park.

They're using staff and supplies from neighboring Independence Stadium to walk over and do things like maintain the exterior and power wash to keep down the smell of the poisonous bat droppings.

City Councilman Jerry Bowman says the search for a solution for Fairgrounds Field keeps coming up short. "We've talked to various people about doing different things, everything other than selling the property."

Sam says the benefits of having Fairgrounds Field, and using it will far outweigh the costs of restoration. "Doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to be pro level, as long as we have a ball park."

Right now, there are no plans to demolish, restore or sell Fairgrounds Field.

That means, it will continue to be a wasted recreational asset and an eye sore. The field sits next to the Independence Stadium, which you might think is only used for the I-Bowl, but city officials say unlike Fairgrounds Field, they're getting lots of use out of the stadium. Independence Stadium gets used a little more than 50 times a year. The city uses it for middle and high school sports and other events.


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