Mount Airy ball field plan called unfair to girls

A contingent of angry parents at Mount Airy's town council last night said plans to improve and light a ball field at the Twin Ridge Elementary School are unfair to the town's girls.

"That entire sum of money is being used on a baseball diamond totally utilized by boys," said Betty Jenkins of Black Engle Road in Frederick County.


"Why should precedence be given over the girls? Why not first address the needs of the girls?"

Frederick County officials had agreed to improve the baseball diamond in exchange for the land on which Twin Ridge Elementary was built. The land is valued by the town at $385,000.


But council President Delaine Hobbs said last night that Mount Airy, not Frederick County residents, should say how the money would be spent.

"If I own a piece of land and I sell it, my neighbors can't say what I do with that money," he said.

Betsy Weinschel, a neighbor of the other woman said she has children at Twin Ridge Elementary and she, too, would like to see facilities developed on the site for girls.

"They should have equal opportunities," she said of her children. "I think they are being denied."

Councilman David Pyatt said in response to the women's complaints that the town plans to use open space at the Village Gate development for two soccer fields.

He said, too, that the town has recently built two volleyball courts, a basketball court and a tennis court on open space obtained from developers, and that those facilities can be used by girls as well as by boys.

Mr. Hobbs noted that there are two playing fields and a soccer field on the Twin Ridge Elementary property.

"The baseball and football programs [that use those fields] are open to girls," he said.


Ms. Weinschel replied that Mr. Hobbs was "being facetious."

Council members also said last night that they still are concerned whether Frederick County will pay the town at all.

Frederick's five current commissioners were not in office when the agreement was made last year and they seem reluctant to give Mount Airy the money for the land, the council members said.

The Frederick commissioners have said that if they put money into the Twin Ridge project, it would have to be taken from six other Frederick County projects, including a planned park in nearby Libertytown.

"The way it was presented, it looks like Mount Airy is raiding other projects to get the money," Mr. Pyatt said. "It's pretty clear that two [Frederick] commissioners are dead set against it."

In other business, the council denied Prestige Cable Inc.'s proposal to sell its cables and transmission equipment in Mount Airy to Frederick Cablevision.


"The people of Mount Airy wanted competition," said Mr. Hobbs. "[Prestige] took us to court. We won by default, which showed we have the right to have competition."