Standifer Gap ballfields still unusable after tornados

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A year and a half ago, ball fields near Ootlewah were in great condition.

Now, they’re not much other than mounds of dirt.

“The money’s not there to be fixed. There was a plan for the cleanup after the tornado was done, but not a real plan for the after effect of when the cleanup was done,” says Ootlewah Youth Association President, Victor Steen.

The fields were used to hold equipment following the tornados that hit our area in April 2020.

That combination left them in bad shape.

Since then, it’s been a slow process to repair the fields and get them ready to play ball.

“Initially I was told hopefully by the end of September as of yesterday I reached out for another update and I’ve been told October. So I think everything’s in our purchasing department right now and it is moving forward and they’re supposed to have it finished so they can use them they understand that they need them,” adds District 7 Hamilton County Commissioner, Sabrena Smedley.

And with October being tossed around as a time for when the fields are set to be finished, Ootlewah Youth Association President Victor Steen says he’s not so sure that the fields will be done in time.

“I think they’re working on maybe a forty or fifty thousand dollar budget and the numbers I’ve been told by companies that do this for a living, that put these fields back and like they do is somewhere around 150 to 200 thousand,” says Steen.

He says he’s tired of waiting, and he wants the County to step up.

“The County Commissioners definitely need to be involved, the Mayor needs to get involved, and the appropriate funds need to be given to the parks and rec department for them to do what needs to be done and get the people in the community back their park.”

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