DONALDSONVILLE — City c ouncil members voted unanimously Tuesday to renew a contract with Ascension Parish government to operate local recreation, but not without expressing concern with the direction of its programs.
“We’re not satisfied, but we’re not going to get any more than we’re getting anyway,” Councilman Charles Brown Sr. said of the contract.
The city agrees to pay parish government $46,000 annually to operate recreation programs in the city.
Of that total, Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. said, half is paid at the time of the agreement signing and the remainder is paid before the end of the calendar year.
With the new agreement, Sullivan said, the council will also receive quarterly reports on the state of local recreation services.
Brown, who has been outspoken on recreation issues in the past, said the city is still waiting on promised improvements to local recreation programs.
“The parish is working on a tax for recreation,” he said. “I guess we’ll see how that affects us.”
Changes in the focus of the city’s baseball program were cited by council members as examples of the decline in local youth recreation programs.
“Baseball has gone backwards,” Brown said.
Some council members cited the focus of local organizers on all-star and travel baseball teams, taking away opportunities for other children to play summer ball.
“The kids were only out of school for three weeks and the baseball program was over,” Councilman Emile Spano said. “They were in school taking final exams and were playing ball twice a week when they should be studying. I thought this was a summer program.”
Brown said the earlier seasons benefit all-star and travel programs for a select few players, while the majority of players are left with nothing to do for the summer.
“Everyone doesn’t play all-stars or travel ball,” Brown said. “The kids who really need that time to build that character don’t get the time to do that.”