Community Pushes for Equitable Softball Facilities at Rutherford Borough Council Meeting

In a recent Rutherford Borough Council meeting, discussions were dominated by passionate pleas for an equitable softball stadium for local girls, with many emphasizing the significance of the proposed facility for community building and female athletes’ growth. The council pledged commitment to the project, while also addressing other key community concerns.

The crux of the gathering centered around the need for a dedicated softball stadium for the local girls. Young and old community members took to the podium expressing the urgency of such a facility. Emily Erikson, a young softball enthusiast, compared her journey to her brothers who had their own little league baseball field. She remarked, “I’ve been playing softball for the past six years and remember growing up watching my brothers play on their own little league baseball field… I can’t wait to play on it. Thank you for helping me make this dream a reality for myself and the rest of the girls in this town.”

Christopher Campo emphasized the need for transparent communication between all stakeholders and suggested the establishment of a subcommittee. Campo’s sentiments were echoed by others, advocating for equal facilities for both genders.

One resident, deeply involved in the softball community, expressed confusion regarding the targeted age group for the proposed field. Stressing on autonomy and self-determination, he voiced, “the only thing… is that they walked out confused about whether the field is going to be for little league or whether it’s going to be a field for high school.”

The council’s response was led by the president, who acknowledged the historical neglect of girls’ sports facilities but assured the community of the current council’s commitment. While acknowledging the need for better facilities, he urged patience and understanding, stressing that the plans were not yet in the final stages. The president said, “we need to walk before we run here and make sure that we are satisfying the needs of all sports.”

Councilwoman Quatrone furthered the dialogue, appreciating the younger speakers for their articulation and pledging something great for the girls. She emphasized that the council’s priority was to benefit all programs, and while the girls’ softball program was a priority, other sports programs couldn’t be ignored. The councilwoman asked for patience and collaboration, assuring that the end goal was to provide the girls with something great. She noted, “I can’t promise you you’re going to get everything that you think you deserve…but I can promise you something great.”

The borough administrator gave insights into the Recreation Department’s perspective, indicating that the displayed plan might exceed the $5 million budget, signaling a potential need for additional funding.

Outside the stadium discussions, the council addressed other matters. Infrastructure issues within the council’s department, including a leaky roof and non-ADA compliant doors, were noted. Resolutions for issuing New Jersey retail consumption liquor licenses were passed unanimously for Sonoma Bistro LLC and Pisan Restaurant Inc. Updates on the 2023 Roadway Improvements Program were provided, with an added announcement about awarding the contract for the project.

Community events were not left out, with praises for the Repair Cafe, Lions Club’s pancake breakfast, and the National Fire Awareness Week. Upcoming events, including the annual Raga Muffin parade, a ‘doggy paw raid,’ and the Halloween spectacular festival at Memorial Field, were eagerly announced.

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