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Vandalism forces city to begin locking ballfields

Boulder City’s Park and Recreation Department is starting a new policy to prevent vandalism on its ball fields.

Beginning in about two months, all the city ball fields — Whalen, Bravo, Veterans 1, 2 and 3 and Hemenway fields — will be locked and available only during regular business hours unless they are rented or in use by the Parks and Recreation Department.

“There has been an increased amount of vandalism, homeless camping in dugouts and field areas, misuse — double booking, holding lessons on them without reserving, digging in the infield dirt, letting/allowing animals on the fields — not closing the gates when leaving and leaving the lights on when not in use,” said Parks and Recreation Sports Coordinator Kelly Lehr of the reason for the change.

Residents are still able to use the fields.

A city press release said if residents want to use the use a ballfield for batting, pitching or fielding practice during the park hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., they need to contact the Parks and Recreation Department office during regular business hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday to receive a code to unlock the gate. Without a reservation, the fields will not be accessible outside of those hours.

“The city of Boulder City has many activities scheduled on weekends on our fields and in our parks,” Lehr said. “So we would like the general public to call to see if they are indeed available and usable prior to their evening or weekend planning.”

Despite being locked when not in use, the process to reserve the fields is not changing.

“The fields are reserved by organizations through the parks and recreation office by renting them on an hourly or daily basis through completing a facility use form and maintaining proof of insurance on users of the field,” Lehr said. “This also includes paying for light usage. All team users have always needed release of liability sheets on file as well.”

Currently, the public works and streets departments are finalizing the signs and creating locks for the infield gates.

“We are trying to introduce this program prior to the implementation, so it is not a surprise or shock to the public,” she said.

In its press release, the city said it will also be installing security cameras to monitor the fields, as well as the parks and facilities that suffer the most vandalism, misuse and property loss.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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