Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
Brian Hilliard, Gardner, looks forward to the time when Little League baseball and softball will be as popular in Kansas as in his home state of Florida. His future plans include chartering a league right here in Gardner.
Hilliard acknowledges that the city’s parks and recreation department runs a solid program, but believes the try-out, player rating and draft processes used in Little League would provide better balanced teams, resulting in stronger league play.
When asked by Gardner News if his Little League would be in direct competition with parks and recreation for their 1,000-plus participants, Hilliard responded that his plan was to replace the city’s programs with Little League and add a Challenger league.
Although chartering a league begins with a completed application, a written constitution and a boundary map, Hilliard understands that is just the beginning. He has reached out to Jeff Stewart, director of parks and recreation, to introduce his ideas.
Stewart confirms that, at Hilliard’s request, a meeting was held.  Hilliard, admittedly still in the very early stages of his project with few specific details to offer, shared his preliminary vision of Little League in Gardner.
Both Stewart and Hilliard left the meeting with intentions of doing further research into the Little League program.  Stewart wants to assure participants that no changes to any current or future T-ball, baseball or softball programs have been made as a result of the meeting.
In a recent post on social media, Hilliard states that he had a meeting with the District Administrator for Little League. After consulting with various individuals and the LL District Administrator, Hilliard has decided to start out by chartering a couple of leagues “to get the ball rolling and build the Little League reputation here in Gardner with the solid presence that will provide.”
He plans to begin charter application in the next few months and is seeking volunteers to serve as board members.Hilliard can be reached at [email protected]
To learn more about the proposed Little League in Gardner online at