Parents afraid of losing softball fields in land swap - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Parents afraid of losing softball fields in land swap

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RED BANK, HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- There's no doubt the people of Red Bank want a new middle school to replace the 74 year old building but the fear of losing the softball fields has some parents fuming.

"I couldn't stay home, I had to be here," says Nada Bennett.  

She was with four daughters in tow, ages 1 to 7.  Bennett says two are playing softball in Red Bank, just like she did as a kid, and she doesn't want that to change.

"My biggest fear is our fields won't be replaced that we won't be replaced," says Bennett.

City leaders say that's not an option, but this is just the first inning.

Monday night's meeting was set to explain the process of a land swap to Red Bank residents.

The U.S Department of Interior approved the land swap with the plan that the city build a comparable city park to replace the one that will be bulldozed. It came about because the proposed site for a new Red Bank middle school is behind the high school and would displace the softball fields.

"No body can put their finger on where they're gonna be, the fields, where we're gonna have them or when," says Allen Bickford, President of the Red Bank Girls Softball Association.

Bickford was backed by dozens of parents and young ladies in their jerseys, fighting for a place to play the game.

Red Bank Mayor Monty Millard says two fields are available near the duck pond and there's room for a third.

"We're committed, very committed to having a place for red bank girls to play softball at the beginning of next year," says Millard.

Some Red Bank commissioners say they support softball in Red Bank and will do their best to build a state of the art facility in the city. Organizers say they just want a place for their girls to play ball.

"I don't want a Warner park, or summit, I know what it takes to keep an eye on them, I just wanna a nice rec park that's all we're asking for," says Bickford.

The Red Bank Girls Softball Association had 23 players about five years ago. Today they have 115 girls ages 5 – 15, in five divisions.

The Red Bank Commission will vote on the land swap May 3rd.

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