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Regional park still needs scoreboards, bleachers, bathrooms

By: Cheri March The News Messenger
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Spectators used to sitting on lawn chairs or the grass at Foskett Regional Park were surprised to see a set of bleachers waiting for them Monday. Three more small sets – one for each field – are expected to arrive soon. But the bleachers, borrowed from Pete Singer Park in Lincoln Crossing this week, are just a temporary solution to a persisting problem. While Foskett and its Eleanor Carnesecca Softball Complex opened in time for softball season this spring, the facility still lacks scoreboards, permanent bleachers and enough bathrooms for a summer of tournament traffic that will kick off in July. “Tournaments bring in a lot of people and we need to be able to serve them better,” said Mandy Walker, the city’s assistant director of recreation. “Right now we’re not meeting their needs.” Walker blamed the current economic climate, which has the city of Lincoln facing a shortfall of approximately $1 million following a leveling off in property and sales taxes. “In this year’s budget, (the city) didn’t know if they had the funding to implement or purchase those things,” she said. For now, Walker said, Lincoln is looking for more sponsors such as Placer Valley Tourism, who recently provided $5,000 – the cost of one scoreboard. Three more are needed in order to outfit each field. Additionally, the park’s only set of restrooms – which currently consists of two stalls in the women’s and one in the men’s – isn’t prepared to meet the needs of larger groups, like the crowd of 3,000 anticipated for a soccer tournament shortly after the soccer complex opens in August. That tournament’s coordinator plans to rent Porta-potties, but Walker said the city eventually hopes to double the size of its restrooms, either through future city funding or donations. Likewise, sponsorship would also be welcomed for seating, she said. The facilities couldn’t arrive soon enough for Beth Joseph, who showed up for her first game Monday as a member of Lincoln co-ed softball team Emmaus Sports. “The park seems like it accommodates everyone, except for the spectators,” Joseph said. Her teammate, Erica Smith, found the lack of scoreboards particularly frustrating. “We always have to ask what the score is and half the time, the ump doesn’t know,” Smith said. “It’s kind of irritating.” But not everyone at the park was in a hurry for additional facilities. Gilbert Rodriguez, a member of the Lincoln men’s league, said he’s just happy to have a new place to play. “The fields are nice compared to the ones we had before (at McBean Park),” Rodriguez said. “And we didn’t have scoreboards over there, either. It would be nice to have scoreboards and bleachers, but people bring their lawn chairs and sit on the grass. We just want to play.” Tony Kasabasick, of co-ed team Emmaus Sports, said he didn’t think a scoreboard was necessary. “This is recreational sports, so it doesn’t really matter,” he said. Spectators Mireya Ayala and Kathy Oakes didn’t seem to mind settling into the grass to watch Oakes’ daughter play ball on Monday. Ayala said the softball fields in Lake Tahoe, where she lives, don’t have scoreboards, either. “The only one we have is at the high school,” she said. “I really think (a scoreboard) would be going above and beyo d.” Both women said the new park is already more than adequate. “I was just impressed that the snack bar was open and the bathrooms were unlocked,” Oakes said. “I think the park is beautiful.” And while spectators might not yet have a shady place to sit, Mandy Walker pointed out a new feature of the park that will help keep kids cool — a water playground near the first entrance to the park is now operational. “It’s neat – it’s got two geysers and about six sprinkler apparatuses, and you just hit the top and the water system starts spraying for a certain amount of time,” Walker said. The water playground is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.