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Complex strikes out with league


Little League baseball's opening day is just four days away, but members of the Lake Shore Youth Baseball board of directors say the new athletic complex has no running water and that grass clumps there have caused injuries to some children.

The problems will not stop opening day.

A broken pump has left the complex without water for about a month. Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks officials say they have been working on the problem and should finish repairs by the end of the week. Board members say they haven't seen the county take any action.

"Nothing's being done," said Joan Harris, president of the organization. "If we could fix it ourselves, we would."

The lack of running water will have a financial impact on the baseball group, she said.

"We won't be able to run our concession stand; people won't be able to wash their hands," she said. Concessions "is our biggest moneymaker on opening day."

The water problem also raises sanitary issues.

"I've got complaints coming in from people saying they can't wash their hands after they use the bathroom," said Gretchen Smith, who runs the concession stand at the complex. "I need water desperately to even wash dishes and to sterilize my hands when I'm cooking this food and handling money."

The board of directors was to meet last night to discuss the problems and try to find a solution. One board member said two children suffered broken arms after tripping over grassy clumps in the outfield. He also said home plate and the pitching mound were eroding because there wasn't enough infield dirt.

"It's a mess," said David Elliot, who maintains the fields. He said he saw one of the children fall. "His left foot just caught a clump and he went right down."

Mr. Elliot said the county has the materials and equipment to fix the fields.

"All we have is five or six people out here with rakes and shovels," he said.

Joe Cannon, director of Recreation and Parks, said the broken pump that has caused the water problem is under warranty and will be repaired.

"There was a problem between the contractor and the subcontractor as to who's responsible," Mr. Cannon said, and the contractor "assured me it will be repaired this week."

He said he was not aware that children were being injured because of the grass.

"We're going to have to go up there and take a closer look," Mr. Cannon said. "If they're having problems, we're going to respond to the best of our ability."

Stanley Smith, another board member, said the county should have been quicker to respond.

"We've got to try our best," Mr. Smith said. "I don't want to be the one explaining to 700 kids why we don't have water or pitcher's mounds."

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