Palestine Youth Sports Organization more than fun and games Story by Lisa Tang with contributed photos
The dream of reopening the Palestine Athletic Complex came to fruition this spring , after an extraordinary amount of planning and teamwork occurred behind the scenes . Over a few months , community leaders , educators , and volunteers pitched in to put sports back in play .
Some pushed ideas in city council meetings , while others moved dirt on the fields , but everyone ’ s efforts paid off as roughly 600 kids returned to play baseball and softball . The city completed renovations on the complex in early 2021 , making good on its unexpected closure of the park in 2019 due to lack of accessibility for persons with disabilities .
Completing the renovations solved one of the problems , but the other challenge involved forming an organization that could manage the fields , the leagues , the players , and their families . In other words , everything else .
Palestine , meet the Palestine Youth Sports Organization , an agreement with the city and Palestine and Westwood school districts , formed from necessity and concern for the kids .
To reopen the complex , the city used funds from the federal CARES Act , also known as COVID-19 relief funds passed in 2020 , to build new concrete walkways and update restrooms and concession stands .
The updates comply with requirements for social distancing and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 , which requires public accommodations to be accessible to people with disabilities .
Before construction began , superintendents Jason Marshall of the Palestine Independent School District and Wade Stanford of Westwood Independent School District came to an agreement with the
city of Palestine . The city did not want to allow use of the athletic complex unless the school districts jointly managed it .
The superintendents agreed to the deal and issued a letter in February 2021 , introducing the PYSO .
“ Please know that PISD and WISD did not seek out being in the youth sports business , but we feel the need to ‘ step up to the plate ’ and provide these opportunities that would have been unattended had we chosen not to get involved ,” Marshall and Stanford said .
An under-10 baseball team participates in a pre-season scrimmage in early April .
Both Palestine teams of the Anderson County Volleyball League play at Palestine Junior High .
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