WORCESTER – As crews work to empty Mount Carmel Church before its demolition, a group of locals have launched an effort to salvage a little league field on the same land as the church.
The Save Joe DiMaggio Little League petition was shared across social media on Thursday morning in an effort to keep the field open and occupied by the Little League. At the very least, the group looking to save the Little League hopes to find a new home for it.
The petition started in May 2016 and resurfaced on Thursday as a rallying effort to raise awareness that the Little League will be shut down.
As of 1:30 PM on Thursday the petition had already gathered more than 250 signatures. It states the following:
“The Joe DiMaggio Little League is a youth sports league in Worcester MA. It is on privately owned land behind Mount Carmel. However, the entire lot is now for sale which threatens the closing of the DiMaggio field.
This will deprive children in the neighborhood of an outlet in which they can gain a sense of accomplishment, teamwork, and develop new friendships.
Please help us keep the field open.”
Around this time last year, longtime Mount Carmel Church parishioner Anthony Petrone, who has also overseen the operation of the Joe DiMaggio Little League for nearly 30 years, joined the Mt. Carmel Preservation Society in a fight against the Worcester Diocese to stop the sale of the Mt. Carmel land.
On Thursday, Petrone shared the petition with this message: “Our league has been on this land for almost 60 years. We have served thousands of boys & girls who have so many great memories, who have had life long friendships.
I have been running this league for over 28 years with the help of so many good friends who also played and coached here.
We have never asked or received a dime from the Diocese to run this league.
Everything we have is from the generous donations of the many small businesses and elected officials who see the need to have our inner city youth being active in a sport that allows them to learn the game of baseball in a safe & positive atmosphere.
There is no little league field on the east side of the city and there will be no where for our kids to play once they sell this land.”
According to Petrone, the City of Worcester has said they would be willing to help find a new home for the Little League, but encourages folks to sign the petition to make sure that becomes a reality.
“The city has build many little league fields over the years in other areas of Worcester. I have been told they will be willing to help but we need your help in making our kids find a new home for the Joe DiMaggio Little League,” Petrone said on Facebook.
According to multiple reports, the demolition of Mt. Carmel church is set to begin in the coming days.
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