SHEPHERDSVILLE – Making food available during the nightly practice sessions for the Shepherdsville Steelers of the Greater Bullitt County Youth Football and Cheerleading Association had two goals.
First, it provided a way for families rushed to get their children to practice a place to purchase dinner.
Second, it provided the organization a way to generate some funds.
But, in a matter of days, the organization lost its ability to accomplish either of those goals.
Leaders of the youth organization were notified on Monday, Sept. 12, that they would have to vacate an area they used for concessions and storage by the end of the week.
Electric would be cut off to the facility as construction would begin for a new splash pad by the city. The different levels of teams would still have the ability to practice on the fields.
The property is part of the Shepherdsville City Park and has been home to the Steelers, formerly the Titans, for years.
Heather Cooper was one of several individuals who brought the matter before the Shepherdsville City Council seeking some relief for the eviction notice.
Prior to 2020, the team used the baseball fields as a practice field and there was a building which they also used for concessions and storage.
However, when the Louisville Fire, a travel baseball organization, began using the facility, the football program was moved to another part of the park.
Cooper’s request was for the organization to have the ability to stay in the facility through the start of November in order to complete the season.
Mayor Curtis Hockenbury offered to allow the group to use the community center on Frank E. Simon Avenue to store their equipment.
While thankful for that offer, Cooper said there is really a need to have the ability to provide food for the parents and their children, as well as a place that ice could be stored in case of player injuries.
Although not ideal, she said the program could survive without electricity.
Councilmember Bonnie Enlow felt the city should be able to secure a temporary electric pole to get the team through the end of the season.
Shelby Arrequin said that the organization has done a lot to make sure any child wanting to play, would be able to participate.
With the Steelers making up a lower income area, she said the group makes sure there is a way that all can play, even if it is to have parents volunteer in the concession stand.
A return to the baseball fields would be great, said Arrequin.
Mark Vibbert, a director for the GBCYFCA, said that he supports the Steelers and all youth organizations trying to provide a place for kids to play.
With 1,300 youngsters in the program, Vibbert said that it is the largest such organization in the state. And the Saturday games at the old Shepherdsville High School site bring in a lot of revenue for local businesses.
He didn’t understand the hurry in starting construction on a splash pad that won’t be open to the public until next spring.
The baseball fields have not been used for over a year, said Vibbert, and the multi-million park plan unveiled last year by the city has had nothing addressed.
His plea for the council was to allow the football and cheer program to move back to the baseball fields through the end of the season.
Unfortunately, all of the youth programs in Shepherdsville have vanished with the exception of the football teams, said Vibbert.
Councilmember Stacey Cline remembered the days of her children playing in the youth football program. She understood the concern of the parents after being advised the Steelers had to leave by the end of the week.
Hockenbury said he would check with public works director Tom LaFollette on Tuesday to see the status of the park facilities.
On Wednesday, the mayor advised The Pioneer News that storage space was offered to the Steelers at the community center.
However, he said the concession and storage building would have to be vacated. And he said the Louisville Fire had been using the baseball fields, including games played on the weekends.