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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Drought forces little league into recalibration of season

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Delaney Compean
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San Marcos entered a drought in March 2022, and its entrance to stage four drought restrictions in June this year has demanded extensive work from the Parks and Recreation Department. As a result, community groups like little league baseball and softball teams have had to take measures to ensure their events will go on.

Field conditions at Ramon Lucio Park, where the San Marcos Youth Baseball and Softball hold games and practices, have slowly worsened and now pose a threat to the children’s safety. In turn, the parks and recreation team is working to try to help them with a smooth autumn season.

“We’ve had to stop play out there because of cracks in the plane surface,” San Marcos Parks Operation Manager Bert Stratemann said. “We have been addressing those cracks for the past month and a half as they’ve started to pop up.”

Though they may look manageable, these conditions pose a genuine threat to kids who play on the fields as many of these cracks are more than ankle-deep and are hidden by grass, Stratemann said.

In order to help the young athletes, parks and recreation has responded with a solution for the league. Practices and games have been rescheduled and moved to the fields at Gary Sports Complex, which were built to withstand the current dry conditions.

“The reason those fields are different than the Lucio fields is because of how those fields were constructed,” Stratemann said. “Those fields were constructed on the site [where] we had compacted base underneath the soil.”

Stratemann said they were working hard to fight problems presented by the drought all over the city every day.

“[The drought] has increased our daily workload because we have at least four irrigation or domestic waterline breaks every day in our park,” Stratemann said. “We’re constantly fixing breaks because of the shifting ground.”

Though they have resolved the issue of where kids will play ball, cracks in the ground and pipe leaks still demand work, and repairing these problems is no frugal task, Stratemann said.

“On all of our irrigation systems across the city, we have spent almost $100,000 this year working on irrigation,” Stratemann said. “Our irrigation systems around the community, not just baseball but all of our facilities, are part of parks and recreation’s responsibility to work on.”

Parks and recreation has tried to remedy park grounds by attempting things like bringing truckloads of water to douse the field, but repairing unsaturated Texas high ground is highly demanding, according to Stratemann.

“We put four truckloads of water, and it got maybe a quarter inch of penetration on the field,” Stratemann said. “Some of those cracks are five, six-plus feet deep, and it was causing more damage on the field than it was helping the field.”

While the fields demand help, no ultimate solution has surfaced for the dry conditions. For San Marcos residents, the best solution there is for these ongoing problems is consistent rain, Stratemann said.

“We’re trying everything we can, but really, the best solution to the problem is rain,” Stratemann said. “And not just the little showers we’ve been having here and there. We need a nice, good soaking that we haven’t had in about a year now.”

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