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Saving Bringhurst Field in Alexandria

Alexandria AcesWith Alexandria (La.) officials proposing to tear down Bringhurst Field, home to baseball there since 1933, locals are seeking to save the historic facility.

That Bringhurst Field is in bad shape is a given: part of the grandstand was shut down two years ago because of safety issues. And Alexandria has not embraced either pro or summer-collegiate ball in recent years.

Alexandria is looking at a property-tax hike to help pay for an expansion of youth programs, and one option on the table is the demolition of Bringhurst Field. Right now the city is operating in the dark in terms of what it would take to repair the ballpark or take appropriate actions to keep baseball there, perhaps without the current grandstand. From KALB:

But, the city says the public shouldn’t panic yet. The future of Bringhurst has not been determined.

“We haven’t made any formal plans to do anything with Bringhurst at this point,” said Chuck Fowler, an Alexandria City Councilman. “There has been discussion about different things.”…

“It would make it an extremely expensive endeavor to remodel it, redo it, rebuild it, whatever,” said Fowler. “It would be in the millions of dollars. We do not have any firm figures on it. But, it would be very expensive.”

One doesn’t know that until some sort of study is made, of course, and it doesn’t sound like the city really wants to know: a vote on the tax hike is due on May 3. A December city planning report budgets $3.9 million for the ballpark demolition and construction of a lazy-river water park on the site.

If done right, an old ballpark can be an attraction; we’ve seen a lot of folks work hard in recent years to save old ballparks in Birmingham, Chattanooga and Spartanburg. But it’s a lot of work, and ballpark advocates need to be willing to raise some private funds. A Facebook group is pushing to save the ballpark, generating a lot of interest in Bringhurst Field, but the emphasis has been on emotional pleas rather than a call for fundraising. Still, with no engineering report on what is needed to repair the ballpark, both sides are operating in the dark, and that’s not a very good place to make irreversible decisions.

RELATED STORIES: Sad fact: Not every old ballpark can be saved; Aces wrap up season; future of Bringhurst Field in doubtPortions of Bringhurst Field closed down because of safety issues


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