What could be a showcase for Beeville is more of a disgrace and a shameful reminder that the city has neglected the proud park known as the 200-acre park or by its rightful name, Veterans Memorial Park (VMP). Particularly, the adult softball field that was dedicated to the memory of two of Beeville’s baseball and softball legends just three or so years ago. The field is now named the Joe W. and Manuel W. Cano Field.
I left Beeville in March of 2006 for a few years and there were rumblings at that time of a new park and recreation committee being formed by concerned citizens. That did come to fruition and I applaud their efforts in getting the walking trail at Poesta Park and the new playground equipment that is destined for the same park on the south side of town. I had hope that something would be done at Beeville’s biggest recreational area. I understand that plans for VMP have been developed and the discussion continues on what can or should be done to improve the facility.
The adult softball field is probably the most used part of VMP in pure numbers of citizens and visitors to our city that play in the year-round leagues and the many tournaments staged on the field. The field does not have any rest room facilities. If a player or their child needs the use of a rest room, an old cement block facility is just 150-200 yards away. Wednesday night I took a tour of the available rest room. Both the mens’ side and the womens’ side have but two stalls and they sure did not look to be in good repair to say nothing of their cleanliness. Neither side had a sink in which to wash your hands. An outside faucet about six to nine inches off the ground was the only running water available.
The concession stand at the softball field definitely looks like its been around forever. It does have electricity running to it and has plenty of ventilation with its open door and sun-roof that is provided by the gaping holes in the roof. A good gust of wind could prove to be its downfall, literally speaking.
If you play the outfield, you are joined in play by thousands, if not millions of ants, not angels in the outfield. At least four and maybe more large round areas void of vegetation, in the outfield have been taken over by nests of the large wood or carpenter ants.
The scoring table that sits behind the fence behind home plate is usable, but the rusty old metal desk that someone donated to the cause many years ago has seen better days. The seating for the fans of the game are strong and formidable looking, made of metal and what looks to be centuries old wooden planks. The planks haven’t seen a paint brush in quite a while and you have to be careful not to get to excited and jump up and down or, heaven forbid, slide into your seat in these stands. Splinter removal is not provided.
The city has put numerous trash cans around the softball field, but they look like the winners in a “most disgusting” contest.
The citizens of Beeville and the many softball players that use the field deserve a better effort from the city, as does the memory of Joe and Manuel Cano.
Many out-of-towners come into Beeville to play softball in the tournaments that are staged at VMP. What impression does the park leave in their minds about Beeville?
An old adage states, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I’ll let a few photographs taken on Wednesday evening speak volumes for me.