Parents in Lehigh Acres are concerned that the little league season will be canceled after some of their field lights were damaged by Hurricane Ian.
The fields may not be ready for the spring season, forcing them to find other options. Right now, the little league fields sit empty, and they may stay that way for a whole season because of the damage Ian did to the fields’ lights.
The lights still work, but they failed recent luminosity tests, meaning they’re too dark to safely hold games.
“Maybe two weeks ago, they told us that they weren’t gonna be we weren’t going to be able to have a season because of the lights,” said Tina Van Note, Lehigh Acres Little League treasurer and player agent.
Van Note’s kids grew up on the fields, and now that they’ve aged out. She stuck around because she knows what baseball and softball mean to the kids in the area.
“It’s so good for the kids, gives the kids something to do instead of playing outside at night on the streets and, you know, keeps them busy,” Van Note said.
Despite the issues, Lee County gave the league the go-ahead to sign kids up. Now they’re days away from the start of the season and still can’t play.
“Now we have 350 kids signed up and no field,” said Van Note. “We’ve offered as a league to help pay for it to get it done. No avail. We just don’t know what else to do.”
With the season supposed to start on January 8, Lehigh Acres players and parents are now hoping for a last-minute miracle.
“It’s so important. We have 350 kids signed up. That keeps kids busy three to four days a week. They’re, you know, they’re at the field. They love it,” said Van Note.
Unless something dramatic happens, the kids won’t be able to play this season.
WINK News reached out to Lee County for comment. They said, “All of our parks sustained damage from Hurricane Ian, and we are working closely with federal and state processes to restore our facilities and parks in a way that is the best use of taxpayer dollars.”