Fate of West Dallas Community Center in limbo

Some kids in West Dallas could soon need to find a new place to hang out and play ball.

The future of the West Dallas Community Center is up in the air after the owner put the property up for sale.

The kids who rely on a program at the facility don't know how much longer they'll have here.

71-year-old Frank Deleon has called the La Bajada neighborhood of West Dallas his home for decades.

“All my friends and all the guys raised here, we played baseball,” he said.

Many of the games were played directly across the street from Deleon's childhood home at the Bataan Center which was founded in 1935.

“That's the core of the neighborhood,” he said. “You have to keep that intact.”

But the longtime neigh hood community center is in danger of going extinct. Last month, the 4.5-acre property was put on the market for $11.5 million. The listing touted it's an ideal "commercial development" that is located walking distance to trendy Trinity Groves.

It's an area undergoing major change with pricey townhomes and apartments going up nearby.

John Darjean is the founder of Beyond Baseball. He leases the property and building from the West Dallas Community Center.

“We work so hard as an organization, and the community really backs us up,” he said. “They really don't want to see the Bataan Center leave.”

Over the years, Darjean says the building has been neglected. It has forced him to shut down all indoor activities as of last Friday.

“We have major mold and mildew here and in the ceiling,” he said.

Darjean is worried the possible sale of the Bataan Community Center means the landlord will not honor the terms of his lease and leave dozens of kids stranded.

The neighborhood association is stepping up and is determined to fight for its salvation.

The West Dallas Community Center Board directed FOX 4 to their attorney for questions regarding the sale and the lease. We have yet to hear back.

The neighbor association plans to hold a meeting at the center on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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