West siders fear changes may ruin neighborhood park’s baseball fields

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some people on the west side are concerned that changes may ruin a popular neighborhood park.

Nearly 5 years ago, Major League Baseball helped create a playing field that's the envy of the metro area at Mulkey Square Park, near 13th and Summit streets.

When the youth baseball season begins here in another week or so, this diamond will be packed with people on Friday nights, with an atmosphere some say reminds them of Kauffman Stadium.

People on the west side are proud of this formerly run down park and say it's doing its job in getting more kids in the neighborhood interested in playing baseball.

But now, volunteer coaches such as Frank Oropeza are concerned that the parks department may open up the pristine green grass for other recreational activities.

He fears that may ruin a baseball diamond that makes kids feel like they're major leaguers.

"There is not one park that is in this shape that kids can play on," Oropeza said. "There's a lot of parks out there but this is probably in the best shape I’ve seen a baseball field in. You can go north or to Blue Springs. But this is one of the most amazing baseball fields I’ve seen in a long time."

Leaders at the Guadalupe Center, which helps organize T-ball, baseball camps and girls fast pitch at the diamond met with parks managers Friday to discuss programming at the park that some fear could run down the field from overuse.

A parks and recreation spokesperson has not yet responded to FOX 4's request for comment on the community concerns.