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Gym, Baseball Fields Top Residents’ Wish List for Recreation : Communities: San Pedro needs facilities to divert youths from the streets, say speakers at public meeting.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

About 70 San Pedro residents turned out this week for a public hearing on the community’s recreational needs, urging that work begin immediately to provide new softball fields and a gymnasium to divert youths from the streets.

The hearing, called by a San Pedro citizens’ panel on recreation, confirmed the results of the panel’s June survey of local recreation leaders: That new multipurpose sports fields and a gymnasium are San Pedro’s most pressing recreational needs over the next five years.

The survey and hearing are aimed at developing a specific list of proposals for new recreational facilities, according to Mel Bobich, chairman of the San Pedro Citizens Advisory Recreational Committee appointed by Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, who represents the harbor area.

“San Pedro has always been a fragmented kind of town; everyone has a particular thing they think is most urgent,” Bobich said. “What the committee is trying to do is get the community to agree to two or three top items . . . and then go for the funding.”

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The diversity of opinion on San Pedro’s recreational needs was evident at the public hearing, where about two dozen residents told the committee the community has a critical need for new softball and soccer fields, basketball courts, an indoor swimming pool and a cross-country running course.

The most pressing priority, several speakers said, was for new softball fields that can be used by the San Pedro Bobby Sox, a softball league of 450 girls, ages 6 to 18, who have struggled for years to obtain permanent facilities. The fast-growing league is facing reduced access to a playing field at the Los Angeles Police Department’s pistol range because the Police Department is renting the site to other groups for picnics.

“We’re just kind of tired of fighting with everybody trying to find a place to play,” said Linda Anderson, president of the San Pedro Bobby Sox board.

(Harbor Division Capt. Roger Coombs said that police are trying to accommodate the girls’ softball teams and other community groups that want to use the ball fields and picnic area. “It’s not that we’re hogging the ball field for our own purposes. We’re trying to let the community as a whole have access to the grounds,” Coombs said.)

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While other speakers focused on a new gymnasium or other athletic facilities, the consensus among people at the hearing was that any addition to San Pedro’s recreational facilities would benefit young people and divert them from gangs and other problems.


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