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Riverton residents want more say in park plans

RIVERTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A battle over baseball fields is intensifying in Riverton. Residents say the city's plans to renovate a park and get rid of the fields was done in secrecy.
RIVERTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A battle over baseball fields is intensifying in Riverton. Residents say the city's plans to renovate a park and get rid of the fields was done in secrecy.

On Friday, the city began demolition of the fields.

“The people of Riverton didn't not get a chance to vote on this,” said LaRaine Boska, a resident.

“We just want it to be fair and have residents decide what they want to happen with their city,” said Teveka Melanson, resident.

Plans have been in the works for years to turn Riverton Main Park into a passive park and get rid of the five baseball fields all together.

The fields are primarily used by young players from a private league called Utah Select. Last month ABC 4 Utah's Kim Johnson first reported the city dumped out of its lease with the league early leaving them with no place to play, but giving them until August to find new fields.

The league was upset to learn demolition began before the August deadline and before a July 16 city council meeting when residents and the league say they were invited to plead their case.

Now they say the mayor and city are not holding their end of the bargain.

“He told me I had plenty of time not to worry about it because nothing would happen until the end of August, 1st of September,” said Boska. “The very next day not even 24 hours after I spoke to him is when they started tearing these diamonds down.”

“The mayor has an alternative agenda that he doesn't want anybody to know about,” said Melanson. “He started to get some opposition because people found out they were going to tear down these parks.”

ABC 4 Utah reached out to the city for comment, but the assistant city manger declined to answer questions. A statement on the city's website claims the public was given opportunity for input at four council meetings in 2011 and three more this year.

As for timing, the city states it chose to demolished the fields when they did to make their deadline of completing the park in 2015.

Click here for the city's complete statement.

Meanwhile residents aren't giving up. They plan to start a petition and force a vote to bring back baseball at the park and are asking supporters to voice their concerns at the July 16 council meeting.

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