Barren County working to accomodate growing number of football and baseball players

GLASGOW, Ky. – Barren County magistrates are debating how they can use Jackie Browning Park in Glasgow to accommodate both the football and growing baseball needs in the community.

In 2015, only 280 kids played baseball and softball on these mounds. Now, that number is 619.

Barren County Parks Director Maxie Murray is dedicated to the teams out here.

“I absolutely love it. This is the best joy my life, is seeing these kids get excited and be down and not win many games all season, and then they come in and win the tournament at the end of the season.”

Murray says the lack of room, though a good problem to have, is really becoming a pickle.

“We’re running out of her room. We don’t have enough practice fields for everyone to practice on, and then we don’t have enough game fields. We’re having to expand out two more fields.”

They’ve had so many softball and baseball players this year that they’ve had to practice on the Jackie Browning football field. Initial problem-solving brainstorming revolved around converting the park’s football field into a baseball field but with little league football on the rise as well, that option doesn’t look quite as appealing.

The options now include converting the football field into dual purpose football-baseball field, finding space for two more baseball fields or potentially both, or building a new park altogether. Barren County Judge-Executive Michael Hale says he plans to listen to coaches and player’s parents and school officials, and use their input as grounds for decision making.

“At the end of the day, we’re spending taxpayer money. So, who better to come in and say that they like this idea or don’t better than the taxpayer, themselves.”

One such parent who’s opinion Hale is after is softball coach Chris Wilson. Wilson coaches girls 7-8 on these fields, including his daughter.

“It’s hard to develop them especially at a young age, when you can’t get them on the field multiple times a week. They need hitting practice, defense practice. There’s a lot of practice to try to squeeze in,” Wilson said.

He’s all in favor of building two new fields, because he says lack of resources resort in lack of interest.

“If you don’t have it all, then kids will stop playing, or they’ll go to other areas or they just won’t play at all. Because you don’t have to things you need to teach them. The more you can work with them, the more they love it. And then the more kids are going to join in.

“We’re going to do everything we can do to give them the opportunities that they deserve,” Wilson said.