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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly on WMFE: Erin Sullivan on the Azalea Park Little League field

February 27, 2014
By
Photo via Instagram user @noahdesigns
Photo via Instagram user @noahdesigns

In case you missed today’s WMFE 90.7 News commentary, you can listen and read the transcript below.

When the mural of Puerto Rican baseball legend Roberto Clemente at Azalea Park Little League field was vandalized recently, community leaders and parents were devastated. The mural, which was completely covered up with black paint, seemed to many to be the only uplifting thing about the aging field.

The 53-year-old park is the oldest Little League field in the state, and it is showing its age: Anthills pockmark the landscape, and weeds spring up on the field. With its broken fences and scarred concession stands, the dugout is something of an eyesore. So,when the mural was vandalized, Carlos Guzman, president of the city’s Puerto Rican Leadership Council, demanded action. He wrote to Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City Council, asking that the city revamp and maintain the neglected field, located next to Azalea Park Elementary School. The Orange County Public School Board agreed to repaint the mural and give the field a facelift in mid-March, but as of this writing, Guzman was still waiting for elected officials to respond to his letter requesting investment in this community resource from the city.

After all, the city has invested plenty in the future of professional sports in Orlando. Millions of public dollars were put toward constructing the Amway Center for the Orlando Magic and millions more have been dedicated to building a new professional soccer stadium for the Orlando City Soccer Club. Now it’s time to invest in the future of the city’s kids, who also deserve to have nice things.

The text of Guzman’s letter follows:

Dear Elected Officials:

I am writing to ask you to support the Azalea Little League Park. For years, this park has been the predicament of the area and the “Field of Dreams” of many hard-working families.

The “stick that broke the camel’s back” was the recent defacing of the mural of the American hero Roberto Clemente displayed at the park. The community will take care of replacing the mural, but we want you to stop passing the buck. We ask that you coordinate efforts to remodel the facilities and make the required budget appropriations for a sufficient dedicated maintenance program every year. The community would like to have a positive answer from you within the next 10 days.

I think that this is an important issue for our families. It will benefit the community at large by assisting in maintaining this park that to this day has been neglected and not properly maintained by the school board, city or county government.

Thank you for your support.

Saludos,

Carlos R. Guzmán

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