Bradford Athletic Association asks help in finding new home

STARKE, Fla. -- The Bradford Athletic Association took its troubles to the Starke City Commission Tuesday night, but no resolution in finding a new home for more than 200 kids to play and cheer in the fall just yet.

"You're going to get together and you're going to work it out," said Mayor Carolyn Spooner, City of Starke.

The Mayor suggested the Bradford Athletic Association meet with the Bradford Parents Association to discuss sharing Thomas Street Field where Bradford Parents Association also holds youth sports practice. The suggestion sparked some debate.

"Dixies will be back in the spring, we'll be using the field. That's going to be the Dixie field, 13-, 14- and 15-year-old boys, they'll be down there all week long using the field," said Brad Chapman, Bradford Parents Association.

Both groups host youth sports and were asked by Mayor Carolyn Spooner to sit in a meeting with a city mediator this week. Parents who brought their children were hoping to find out which field they would be driving to this fall.

"We shouldn't be going through this. We have offers from other counties to be able to use their facilities, but who wants to transport their kids out of county to go and practice when we should be able to use facilities that are right here at home," said Starr Pittman, a parent.

The Bradford Athletic Association says they are a home team, the Bradford Tornadoes. The team has played at the county fairgrounds for over 40 years until last week when they were given a notice that they can no longer use the facilities due to unresolved issues of wear on the midway, trash being left behind, and a lack of supervision. Issues the association says it thought were resolved months ago. It is a disappointment for many parents like J.D. Sapp who is signing up his kid for football for a third season.

"Going into a new season and not having a home, that's pretty vital to us," said Sapp.

The Bradford Athletic Association did receive some good news though. A local Reverend has offered a space for the group to house its equipment free of charge for as long as it needs.


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