Copeland Ball Field parking raises concerns

A traffic accident in front of the Copeland Ball Field concession stand in Ehrhardt after a game on May 11, led to a near altercation and has resulted in a church softball team moving its softball games to another site.

As a result of the incident, the Pleasant Hill softball team, which “brings in a lot of other churches” will be playing their games in St. Johns. Copeland Ball Field now has a shortage of teams to play their games at the Copeland Ball Field, manager Harry Hughes told Ehrhardt Town Council members at their May 18, monthly meeting.

“They’re leaving a field we worked hard for and are still working hard for,” Hughes said. “But we got to fix some problems that we have in that area. This is your field too, we need to get some things ironed out before we can possibly get these churches back on the field, which we need them real bad,” Hughes added.

In making several recommendations to Ehrhardt Town Council to improve the situation around the ball field, Hughes noted the first thing that needed to be done was to condemn a house on the corner of Granville and Jackson Streets. “Everybody knows what’s going on at that corner and it ain’t no secret," he said.

Other recommendations Hughes made for the area around the ball field included: All parking needs to be in the parking area, which would cut out all parking along the road; Granville Street could be blocked off as it was noted the “bleachers are pretty much in the street and it is difficult to control vehicles, kids, the ball game and concession stands at one time.”

Hughes suggested that a Bamberg County Sheriff’s Deputy or an officer let their presence be known in the area while games are being played, adding that the long term solution to the problem might include cutting a section of Granville Street that runs through the ball park out. Hughes said that putting a fence around the whole complex could possibly help with the problem.

“These are some of the solutions to help Ehrhardt get to where it needs to be for the hard work put in the ball Field,” Hughes added. “That park represents good, not bad, we have to stand up and fight,” Hughes added.

In reference to condemning the house at the corners of Granville and Jackson Streets, Ehrhardt Police Officer Dan Stroman said there was no probable cause to condemn the property. In response to having an officer on duty at the ball field, Police Commissioner Bill Edinger noted that there was no problem with having an officer patrol the area during ball games and he noted that the lack of an officer on duty the night of the incident at the ball field was due to a scheduling conflict. Edinger said that he would talk with SCDOT Engineer Bobby Crider about the possibility of closing Granville Street during games and suggested that No Parking signs might be erected.

Mayor Bill Stanley asked Hughes if what he was hearing might help the situation. Hughes replied that some of what he heard might help the situation and the other part he was not sure about.

“We will see about blocking the street to through traffic, we’ll see what we can do to get the changes done,” Mayor Stanley added.