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National Fund Set to Expire - KOAM TV 7

National Fund Set to Expire

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WEBB CITY, MISSOURI -

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is set to expire on September 30th. The federal program pays for conservation and parks projects. Jasper County alone has 13 projects which the fund is responsible for.. including one in Webb City.

Now head coach of the Webb City High School baseball team, Chris Taylor got his start in the sport at King Jack Park as a little leaguer.

"I pitched quite a bit actually when I was younger. Then I played mostly shortstop," Taylor said.

The Webb City Baseball Complex is still used today. It's part of a town's baseball culture which is sending a team to the Little League World Series. 

"As much as Webb City is a football town, baseball and softball have a lot rich tradition themselves," Taylor said. 

And it all started, in part, thanks to more than $35,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund; which features a State and Local Assistance Program for things like parks, playgrounds, and baseball diamonds. 

The fund is responsible for more than a million federal dollars coming to Jasper County.

What may prevent congress from renewing the fund, is a provision for a federal land acquisition. 

"[Opposition says] there's a maintenance backlog already on lands that the federal government owns and they don't think the federal government should be acquiring any more land," Trust for Public Land Legislative Rep. Joel Pannell said. 

The Land acquisitions, Pannell says, are typically for lands inside national parks. And it shouldn't be what causes the fund to end, just as the children who grew up on these parks are readying to play in the Little League World Series. 

"A lot of good baseball players have played on these fields," Taylor said. "Without having a facility, without having a complex and good people involved with teaching the game, and helping coach, and other things of that nature, [Webb City's success] wouldn't exist."

The senate has already approved the fund's renewal. It still needs congressional approval. At least 3 Missouri congressmen have publicly stated their support for renewal.

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