ABOITE TOWNSHIP, Ind. (WANE) — The Aboite Township Parks Department held a public forum Tuesday to get input on a new five-year master plan. The biggest concern from residents appeared to be the need for more baseball and softball fields.

Michael Rost with the Aboite Township Park Board said there are currently six baseball diamonds in Aboite Township. Four of those diamonds are used by outside entities, leaving the Don Ayers Little League and the Aboite Softball League with the remaining two.

“One of the things that happened was Southwest Allen County School District with their renovation of the High School we lost several diamonds,” Rost said. “We lost 5 diamonds actually, and now we’re trying to recoup that, yet in the meantime, Aboite [and] the Township of Aboite is getting larger and growing so there’s a big need for baseball [and] softball diamonds.”

Both the Don Ayers Little League and the Aboite Softball League have hundreds of players. The Don Ayers Little League has had to turn children away due to their lack of space.

Chris Buell, President of Don Ayers Little League, said the space they have is just not enough.

“Of the Township fields there are six township and baseball fields and we have access to one for 650 kids,” Buell said.

Buell said he never wants to turn kids away from playing, and he said something needs to be done in the near future.

“In the long term, we could use more facilities or larger complexes with more baseball [and] softball fields for everybody to use. I think short term, just adequate utilization of the fields and proper handling of who gets to use them and when they get to use them will solve issues,” Buell said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Aboite Township Park Board Members gave a presentation on what the Townships’ Parks Department consists of already and what they found residents want more of based on a survey done months ago.

Residents were then split into multiple groups to discuss the changes they’d like to see. Along with more baseball and softball fields, residents brought up wanting to see more pickleball courts, trails, restrooms, concessions, improvement of playgrounds, and a potential indoor facility.

There will be more public meetings and surveys conducted throughout the process of building the master plan.