Gilbert closes Big League Dreams ballparks 1 day before softball tournament

Gilbert city officials say the Big League Dreams complex is expected to be shut down for at least a year for repairs.

GILBERT, Ariz. - Gilbert officials have shut down the baseball fields at Elliot District Park over concerns the fields are unsafe, but the company that manages the fields claims it was never notified until the roads were barricaded.

Big League Dreams manages eight baseball and softball fields at the park. But the park has been the subject of lawsuits for the last five years, since Gilbert officials found out the facilities had not been built properly.

Gilbert won a multi-million-dollar settlement against the builder, but the town's lawyer told 12 News officials found more costly mistakes after the settlement.

"We were somewhat surprised to find out the fields were shut down," Big League Dreams spokesman Chuck Jelloian said. "We've been trying to work with the city to make these improvements."

But town officials claim they told Big League Dreams the park would have to close in September of last year. 

Repairs are expected to take until 2019, leaving hundreds of youth and adult teams scrambling to find a new place to play.

Frank Calderon coaches a girls softball team that was supposed to play a tournament at Big League Dreams the day after it closed. He said he wasn't notified by Big League Dreams or town officials. 

"The lack of notice was horrible," Calderon said. "I mean, it was one day before the tournament."

Calderon said the parents of his players are willing to travel, but it's hard to find a baseball complex the size of Big League Dreams to accommodate huge tournaments.

"I've got parents that are very devoted to the team, so they'll do what they have to do," Calderon said. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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