Penn Hills youth sports league searching for answers after usual playing field claimed by other team

PENN HILLS, Pa. — There are two little league football associations in Penn Hills and there are two football fields: one plays at the local park and the other plays at the high school field, giving both teams a place to play.

But this season, the team that traditionally plays at the park has secured the high school field, leaving the other team with nowhere to go.

Channel 11 spoke to Larry Fielder, the President of the Penn Hills Youth Football and Cheer Association, and for the past three years, his association has used the high school football field.

“I just want to see our kids have an opportunity to play,” Felder said. “I got a letter here from in 2021 when we wrote the school district we wrote the board asking for the field they approved us to use the field.”

He says his association, which is comprised of cheerleaders and football players ages 5 to 12, was told that because he has both residents and non-residents in his league he couldn’t use the field.

“It was said to my face by one of the board members that they don’t want any city kids on their field, I don’t know what it meant,” Felder said.

According to the rules posted on the Penn Hills School District website, non-residents can participate and use the field as long as 50% of members or residents, it is considered a community organization. Larry says 87% of the association are Penn Hills residents, like dad Marc Franklin whose daughter is a cheerleader and whose son plays on the team.

“We just need a field in the community, I am a taxpayer. I’ve lived here for almost 17 years, me and my wife, that’s what we deserve,” Franklin said.

But with just weeks left before the season begins the other available field, located at Turner Friendship Park is already taken. The other football association has now reserved both locations along the high school, leaving Felder’s team without a place to play.

“Whether it’s at this field whether it’s at Friendship Park whether if it’s at any field just give them an opportunity,” Felder said.

“If you are trying to take away something from my kids or other kids that’s just not fair,” said Franklin.

The municipality says as far as using this field, it’s on a first-come first-served basis, so unless the other team releases its hold on the location, there is nothing they can do.

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