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Park to Be Opened for Youth Sports Use

With a shortage of green space for recreational sports and female softball players by the hundreds needing a place to play, the City Council voted unanimously to make Russell Ranch Park available to local youth sports groups.

Wednesday’s vote means that about 800 members of the Westlake Agoura Girls Softball Assn.--ages 5 to 14--will have a place to play until the end of softball season in June, when city officials expect youth soccer to take over.

“This is something the city has been wanting to do for a long time,” city spokesman Mike Mathews said.

The vote was made possible by a separate decision the council made on Wednesday to assume ownership of the park--located in the Westlake North area--from a local developer.

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With dirt infields, bleachers, ground-level dugouts and two backstops, the park provides opportunities for simultaneous play. “I think the girls are going to love it,” league commissioner Gary Rattet said. “It’s a nice-looking facility.”

Until now, the girls have been playing games at a patchwork of elementary and high school fields.

Russell Ranch Park’s inclusion, Rattet said, should help ease space limitations.

“Sometimes, you can drive by a field and see four or five different teams practicing in the same place,” he said. “These kids are out there trying to find a little piece of grass.”

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This is Westlake Village’s first city-owned ballpark. According to Mathews, other sites--for use by all ages--are being evaluated, but homeowners have voiced concern over night lighting, noise and potential traffic.


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