KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There is growing concern about safety at Satchel Paige Stadium in southeast Kansas City.
A large portion of a retaining wall and sidewalk that borders the stadium, near 51st and Swope Parkway, appears to have collapsed. It’s unclear when it happened but a spokesperson for KC Parks said they recently became aware of the problem and plan to fix it.
Pat Clarke is a community activist grew up playing at the stadium, which is named after Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball legend Satchel Paige. Clarke said he’s gotten several calls about what he considers to be “dangerous” conditions at the stadium.
“If we don’t take care of that, those bleachers and everything over there will soon fall right behind it,” Clarke said.
The Boys and Girls club uses the facility for RBI Baseball, a programmed aimed at getting kids in the inner city interested in baseball and softball.
“I wouldn’t advise anybody to let their kids play down here, whether it’s baseball or just playing,” Clarke said. “It’s been falling apart for several years so it needs the attention.”
Clarke said he talked with the city manager, who assured him the problem will get fixed. As of Friday, KC Parks was waiting on estimates to figure out how much repairs will cost.
Councilman Lee Barnes said he plans to work this week to make sure there is a permanent solution.
“It doesn’t take an engineer to understand there’s some issues there and we need to address those here pretty quick,” Barnes said.
Both men said facilities like Satchel Paige stadium are important institutions in the urban core that should not be neglected.
“You learn the game of life in some of these situations, so these facilities help foster that conversation,” Barnes said.
“With the right love, the right leadership and community, this will stand like it’s supposed to,” Clarke added. “This place right here can provide a whole lot of things for a dying community.”
A spokesperson with KC Parks said if they have to close the stadium for safety reasons, they will help RBI Baseball find another place to play.