BILLINGS — Big Sky Little League is dealing with more than snow on the ground as tryouts commence - they're trying to figure out how to pay for multiple acts of vandalism costing them thousands.
"We don’t have the money," said board member Greg Franks. "We have field repairs we need to be doing. Replacing doors on concession stands and buildings doesn’t help kids play baseball."
Big Sky has had problems for years now - at Urbaska field, at the Veterans Park field, but mostly at Switzer Field at Rose Park.
"This door has been broken into several times," Franks said, gesturing to the east side door of the concession stand at Switzer. "The gates to the press box and concession stand have been jarred open. We’ve put security screen doors on it - it doesn't help. They break the glass."
Franks believes the perpetrators think there’s money in the concession stand, even though a clearly posted sign says no money is kept on the premises.
The latest issue? Massive dents in the press box roll gate facing the field.
"The replacement of that gate is between $2,000-2,500," Franks said.
Add that to the cost of replacing a recently damaged door at Urbaska, and the league’s dream of breaking even is getting tougher. The board has filed multiple police reports, but without cameras, there isn’t much to go on.
"We're going to investigate all actionable leads," said Lt. Brandon Wooley of the Billings Police Department, "but if we don't have enough to go on and hit a dead end, unfortunately that case will get closed or inactivated."
So Big Sky is turning to the community. They started a GoFundMe Monday so that all the costs aren’t falling on these specific families.
"When you're throwing $5,000-15,000 a year just for vandalism repairs, it gets pretty costly and makes it difficult to keep it inexpensive for kids to participate," Franks said.