Parish, city looking to improve recreation

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley

Ascension Parish Recreation Program Coordinator Ajia Mitchell spoke to the Donaldsonville Mayor and City Council at its meeting on Feb. 24 about the current and future of the recreation department.

Mitchell first told the leaders there was major improvement with the basketball league this year, with 220 kids participating versus last year’s 160. With the numbers improvement, the league was able to form three girls’ teams and add a girls’ All-Star team for the 9-10 age group.

With the great numbers in basketball, Mitchell and the parish recreation are hoping the baseball and softball season see improvement as well.

Mitchell said there were low numbers last year due to travel ball.

“They’ve seen a lot of decrease on the east side as well from the same thing,” Mitchell said. “We just have to come up with a way to keep the kids in this program but also travel ball too, which is hard to due when it comes to parents’ funding their kids.”

District 4 City Councilman Rev. Charles Brown, Sr. said one of the biggest problems with baseball is not so much the travel teams, but when “I was younger we had men who were role models out there coaching the game and from the African American standpoint they don’t have that out there.”

“A lot of our kids aren’t playing because they don’t have that person they can connect to,” Brown said. “You just don’t have the people volunteering to coach baseball to get our kids interested in baseball. I think the push is to get our kids involved with recreation. Sports build character.”

Mitchell said a summer basketball league was supposed to start last year, but failed. However, this year the association has reformed a board to bring some good ideas and growth.

Brown mentioned the association adding extra sports other than football, basketball and baseball.

“Ascension Catholic’s kids are out there in the morning and evening putting in the work for the track, and for the last three and four years they’ve been competing state-wide,” Brown said. “I think that’s one of the sports we need to tap into.”

Mitchell agreed and said she’s looking into adding improvements to the tennis courts due to an interest in having a tennis program.

Mitchell said the parish is also looking into volleyball and track.

“We’re trying to have interest meetings because we’re going to need help with it all,” Mitchell said.

West Ascension Recreation Association baseball and softball is underway now and will end March 30 at the Donaldsonville City Hall or the Recreation Building located at 300 Railroad Avenue. The cost is $40 per child. For more questions email msevie14@yahoo.com or call Randy at (225)-266-5677.