ST. PETE BEACH — Playing fields at Hurley and Egan parks will now become home to some Madeira Beach Youth Baseball games, along with its softball boosters, as part of an agreement unanimously approved by city commissioners.
The league’s more than 400 players traditionally play baseball on three fields at the Madeira Beach Recreation Center, as well as Treasure Island’s Rosselli Park field.
In addition, at a Jan. 10 commission meeting, City Manager Alex Rey revealed at the end of this month, or beginning of February, recreation staff will present commissioners with alternatives to revitalize and reuse the large field at Egan Park.
St. Pete Beach’s 5.4-acre Egan Park on Blind Pass Road includes two baseball fields, pickleball courts, lighted tennis courts, a fishing pier, boat ramp and walkways, but over the years its large playing field has fallen into disrepair.
City Manager Alex Rey said commissioners will be presented with conceptual plans that staff has been working on to determine what to do with the large field, “because it is now going to become available for other purposes. It’s an opportunity that resulted out of this change that we wanted to take advantage of. There are clearly demographic changes that are happening in the city,” he said.
Mayor Al Johnson recalled the big field at Egan Park used to be used regularly 20 years ago. But Jennifer McMahon, the city’s chief operating officer, said softball hasn’t been played there “for a number of years.”
“The field itself is not playable and that comes directly from the Madeira Beach League,” she said. “There’s divots, the fence on one side is falling down, and the netting needs to be replaced. There’s a lot of issues with it, so it’s whether we pay to repair all of that and get it in good order, which would be quite costly, or repurpose it for other things that have come up for other areas here in the city.”
Johnson said “that’s a big piece of open parkland that we have that I never see being utilized, since I live right next door.”
The large Egan Park field aside, the smaller Egan baseball field and Hurley Park baseball complex is about to come alive with the sounds of little league baseball and cheering fans.
McMahon told city commissioners the Southwest Little League has disbanded and joined with Madeira Beach Youth Baseball and Softball Boosters at the city’s two baseball facilities. The agreement between St. Pete Beach and the Madeira leagues is “pretty much the same agreement we had with Southwest Little League,” she told commissioners.
The cost for the Madeira league to use the Egan Park small field and Hurley Park field is $1,200 for spring ball and $800 for fall ball.
She added that during the five-year agreement, the league will be investing to make some improvements, particularly to some of the concession areas.
As part of the agreement with Madeira Beach Youth Baseball, the city agrees to maintain the playing fields and lights, determine if play should be allowed in certain situations such as poor field conditions or severe weather, and maintain exterior buildings, restrooms, bleachers and facilities.
League responsibilities include maintaining grounds outside of the playing field, and turning off field lights by 10 p.m. nightly, along with maintaining and repairing concession facilities, meeting and storage spaces.
McMahon said the city has a design for the renovation of the Hurley Park concession stand.
Resident Deborah Schechner supported the agreement, saying playing ball “keeps kids out of trouble.”
“I love the fact that we have so many teams and so many kids that want to play,” she said. “Madeira Beach was not going to be able to accommodate the kids from Southwest Little League; it was really heartbreaking for them because they want to support those kids and have them play. Allowing this allows our kids to play as well.”