HOUSTON - A youth sports program, that serves underprivileged children, is left picking up the pieces after someone burned their storage facility to the ground.
"This park is really not protected by the city or by law enforcement for that matter," said Coach Teddy Resby, president of PACE Youth Sports program.
FOX 26 saw bullet holes in the community ice machines, tire tracks on the fields children use to play and practice. Staff with PACE says these are some issues staff with PACE Youth Sports Program have had to deal with over the years.
However, they say the final straw happened last Monday when coaches say they believe someone intentionally set fire to the building housing their equipment at Smokey Jasper Park.
"I don’t know if they intended on burning down the building, but I’d let them know how much of an impact that has caused our community and the kids in this area," said Resby.
PACE stands for Protecting All Children Equally, they coach boys and girls ages three to 14 in track, kickball, basketball, flag football, and baseball, getting them ready for middle school sports.
"We made our program specifically to counter the expensive programs in other areas. In 2019, our 8-year-old team was ranked in the top of the nation, not in the city or state, in the nation," Resby emphasized.
He says, in 2020, they partnered with a business called Good Sports, they received a discounted rate, so they bought brand-new supplies; enough to last the next three or four years.
"Gloves, bats, pitching machines, we even had basketball equipment in there, scoreboards," said Resby.
All of those supplies now gone, lost in the fire. Coach Resby tells FOX 26 he hopes the city will finally start to put more effort into the park that so many children depend on.
"It puts us back to square one, actually behind, because the funds that we had to purchase that equipment we don’t have anymore," said Resby.
We’re still waiting on the Houston Fire Department to declare the cause of this fire. FOX 26 has reached out to the city for a comment.
In the meantime, PACE is accepting donations. To learn more, click here.