The Pineville-Ballantyne Community Athletic Association recently reached out for Pineville’s support, hoping to become a branch of the Pineville Parks and Recreation Department.
After several years of displacement due to construction of the recently opened Pineville Elementary School – former home to five fields utilized and maintained by PCAA – the future of the association is still unclear. PCAA has existed in some capacity for about 25 years in the Pineville area, while the group at times changed boundaries, programming and even names.
But the association hit a roadblock in 2012 when plans for a new Pineville Elementary School from a 2007 Mecklenburg County bond finally came to fruition. The new school was to be built in the middle of the organization’s fields – space PCAA had been renting from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for a minimal fee. The PCAA was left without a home, and with nowhere to turn in Pineville, has since been able to work out a deal with nearby South Charlotte Middle School as a temporary home base.
But it’s time to get back to the roots – that’s the belief of PCAA President Shorty Sanders and other board leaders. Previous plans to replace the fields at Pineville Elementary School are still attainable, but it can’t be done without more financial support, Sanders previously said in an interview with The Pineville Pilot. The Pineville Elementary School campus now has room for about three fields. CMS has demolished the old school building and completed essential grading work needed for fields, but it’s up to PCAA to get their fields back.
“PCAA is facing some tough times with the loss of their fields,” Haynes Brigman, Pineville’s town administrator, said at the Pineville Town Council’s meeting Tuesday, Feb. 11. “Again with them facing the construction costs and the lack of fields, they are seeking partnership with the town to move the organization forward.”
To begin with, the town would need to front costs to construct the three baseball fields, Brigman said. Preliminary estimates were presented at the meeting, though town leaders requested more in depth information before any consideration. Additionally, the town could be responsible for maintenance of the fields, which could require additional town staff hours for upkeep. The PCAA board president’s seat also would be taken over by town staff, likely Jennifer Honaker, Pineville Parks and Recreation athletic coordinator.
“There are a lot of little details… this is just the beginning process,” Brigman said, adding the partnership would be a great opportunity for the town and its residents since it would bring discounted rates for Pineville residents to participate in PCAA programs. “What are the benefits? Continued advancement of our youth recreation, and certainly it will be open to individuals and citizens outside of Pineville. But we could also take advantage of PCAA’s already organized volunteer base, which will help us in moving forward.”
The partnership also would bring opportunities for both PCAA and the parks and recreation department in organized tournaments, games or series, possibly held at the new fields or Jack D. Hughes Memorial Park. Organized tournaments could bring more weekend revenue to area shops, restaurants and businesses and extra funds to help support PCAA programs. The town currently does not have its own organized sports group.
“I look at it from a perspective that PCAA has triggered an opportunity for the town,” Brigman said. “I look at it as the town’s opportunity to fund the fields at a reasonable cost.”
Discussions among councilmembers at the meeting centered around costs of the partnership versus the amount of Pineville participants, which like PCAA’s participation as a whole has been dropping in recent years, Pineville Mayor Jack Edwards said, adding about 45 Pineville kids were among PCAA’s about 420 participants last year.
“It’s been dropping dramatically,” Edwards said. “Part of it is they just can’t get fields.”
But PCAA leaders hope the partnership would not only provide more stability for the association as a whole, but would hopefully bring the spark back for Pineville residents.
“We owe a lot to Pineville, and I want to keep it for these kids,” Sanders said. “For us, it’s all about the kids.”
Town staff will work over the next month to come up with a more in depth proposal, including specific costs on what it would take to get fields ready for the 2015 spring baseball season. The proposal likely will come back before council at the next meeting on March 11, a Tuesday, at The Hut, 200 Dover St.