Editor's note: The following article is from Brian Taylory, senior editor of Recycling Today, a sister publication of PCT.
SHREVEPORT, La. - Bats are an integral part of baseball, but usually not the type roosting at one vacant baseball stadium in Louisiana.
Estimates being made to take down a baseball stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, include up to $200,000 to evict roosting bats that call the ballpark home in a way that complies with state wildlife protection law.
An AP News article in early May says the state’s nuisance animal regulations spell out that bats must be relocated rather than killed, as long as such a process can be undertaken “without endangering people.”
The same story says Shreveport City Council is estimating it will cost about $580,000 to demolish Fair Grounds Field in that city. The ballpark was built in 1986 and was home to a minor-league baseball team that moved to Texas in 2003.
AP says Fair Grounds Field was last used in 2011, and the Shreveport City Council is considering an ordinance to declare it surplus and allow demolition. If it happens, more than one-third of the total cost, about $200,000, will be tied to the bat eviction process.
The project’s timeline also may be affected by the presence of the bats, with AP and local media outlets reporting that the initial bat control measures at the ballpark cannot start at until August, so as not to interfere with the animals’ mating season.
AP News quotes a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries official as saying of the bat consideration and budgeting, “Somebody is telling them the right thing to do. I’m happy to hear that.”
The news agency also refers to a state wildlife department brochure that states, “It is estimated that insectivorous bats save U.S. agriculture over $3.7 billion dollars annually in pest control.”
Shreveport City Council, in a draft ordinance seeking the stadium’s demolition, refers to it as “a large concrete structure that became obsolete very quickly and did not fit the new boom in baseball stadium design.” Investors who have considered renovating it “have either reported that the work would be too expensive or just never scheduled a follow-up meeting,” Council says.