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Artesia Council Approves Artesia Park Field Use for Upcoming Calendar Year

By Loren Kopff

It looks as if the battle of the turf, specifically Artesia Park, has finally been settled.

A motion was passed by the Artesia city council this past Monday night to approve the 2015 field use for Artesia Park. The approval comes almost a month after the Sports Advisory Council (SAC) sat down and debated as to what dates and/or weekends the Artesia Punishers travel softball program, the Artesia D.E.S. and the Artesia Parent Volunteer Group wanted to use the park.

The first event that will be held at Artesia Park in 2015 is the Surf City Winter Showcase, a softball tournament in which the Punishers will be a part of and one that attracts hundreds of college coaches ready to hand out scholarships to young girls. The event will take place Jan. 10-11, 2015.

In total, the Artesia D.E.S. will use Artesia Park 80 times next year, mostly on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The Punishers will have use of the Artesia Park 56 times with the majority of those uses being on the weekends. The Artesia Parent Volunteer Group has 27 dates locked down while the Artesia baseball/softball league has a dozen dates set aside for them.

“I actually was extremely happy to see that there was an agreement for the 2015 year because about two months ago, there were individuals coming in talking about how the city might have been a little unfair on our weekends,” said Artesia Mayor Pro Tem Miguel Canales at the city council meeting. “I just wanted to make sure our city is working with all of our organizations and making sure we provide access to them.”

One of the biggest issues that was discussed at the Sept. 18 SAC meeting was when to shut down Artesia Park.

Representatives from all parties involved finally decided that Artesia Park would be closed from Dec. 15, 2014-Jan. 9, 2015 and from Dec. 21, 2015-Jan. 29, 2016. The reason to close the park for six weeks at the end of 2015 and nearly all of January, 2016 is to mow the outfield grass shorter and shorter, aerate the turf and till the dirt and weed spots and seed the grass, among other things.

According to the report that was submitted by Melissa Gobas, City of Artesia Parks and Recreation superintendant, and Jaime Navarro, City of Artesia Program Coordinator, a six-week closure period would be best for a higher percentage of the seeds to take.

On a side note, another issue that was discussed at the SAC meeting involved the fees that the different organizations will have to pay as well as a possible newcomer, the West Coast Hotshots softball team, which has been creating a buzz on the different softball websites and forums, most notably HeyBucket.com.

On Sept. 6, the West Coast Hotshots posted a flyer indicating they were looking for players to try out for their team, which were to be held at Artesia Park on Sept. 12.

The Artesia Girls Softball League (AGSL) was formed in the spring of 2014 and consists of one 8-Under team, two 10-Under teams, one 12-Under team and, three 14-Under teams which are classified as high school travel teams.

Everyone thought the Hotshots were part of those 14-Under teams.

The AGSL has already registered with the Amateur Softball Association and will be a part of the Los Angeles/South Bay District, the same as the Cerritos Girls Softball Association, among others.

“The Artesia Girls Softball League is not an approved group, currently,” Gobas said in an interview on Sept. 29. “We learned last week that they are trying to become one, but we have yet to receive any kind of proposal. What we do know is we have the Artesia Parent Volunteer Group, which has been around for about 10 years and maybe a little bit longer than that. The city did work with some volunteers to register the city’s baseball and softball youth program with ASA so that we could have a softball program during our spring league.”

The AGSL played a few fall ball games on the last weekend of September on three of the four fields at Artesia Park, including the “high school division” team. The AGSL is not expected to play at Artesia Park for at least the next several weekends, according to the master schedule of all of the LA/South Bay teams.

“As we mentioned in the meeting, there may be some girls that played on this Hotshots group that are currently registered with our winter ball program,” Gobas later added. “But the Hotshots league themselves are not doing anything here. Nobody has come with proposals, nobody has come for practice time.”


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