Hazardous 30-Year Old Backstop Replaced At HWY 70
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County Parks and Rec has teamed up with the Edmonson County Baseball/Softball Board for some major improvement projects to the HWY 70 ball fields, the location where multiple local youth league sports take place.
The board implemented a $1 per person charge last season (excluding coaches and players) for the purpose of investing in a series of much needed projects at the park.
Over the fall and winter months, the dilapidated backstop on field 3 (the former high school softball field), was replaced. The rusted and broken down contraption was part of the original field that was first constructed in the late 80s, which had become a severe safety hazard for players and spectators.
The $9700 improvement was funded in part by the board ($5200) and by the local parks and rec, with approval from fiscal court ($4500).
Board President Michael Meredith said that the addition of last year's admission was part of a 2-year plan to save enough for the backstop but with the help from Parks and Rec Program Director John Kiernan and fiscal court, the project was able to be completed before the beginning of the 2019 season.
Meredith discussed several other projects that are also in the works.
"We also plan to purchase a portable regulation mound for our kid-pitch baseball field and a temporary fence for field 3, where we just completed the new backstop," he said. "Over the last few years we've built two bullpens for the girls softball field, got two hitting cages up and running, have put cubbies in every dugout, and hope to put permanent concrete/AstroTurf-type mounds in the boys baseball bullpens."
There has also been extensive drainage work done around the fields and walking areas of the entire park.
Meredith said the board is focusing on putting the money back into the program when the money is available. He said while he knows they currently have "good facilities" the board's intent is to make them great.
Parks and Rec's Kiernan complimented the board on the improvements that have been and are currently being made.
"Our board is made up of a great group of people that are working hard for the sole purpose of making our youth leagues better for our kids," he said. "We're very grateful for the efforts they are making and we're happy to have the great working relationship with them."
Meredith discussed more of what the board had tried to do as well as their future plans.
"We have certified umpires on every field and for the last two years we required every coach to take a coaching course with background checks on each coach. We feel we have a great program and want every child and adult in Edmonson county to realize that we are working hard to keep things going in the right direction. Over the last 4 years we have had two state runner ups and one district champion represented by our league."
Some surrounding county leagues have recently tried to recruit players and coaches from Edmonson County, but Meredith stressed that there's still plenty to offer Edmonson County families right here at home.
"We truly feel things are headed in the right direction and our board wants to keep that going. We want to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our kids to thrive in. The people of Edmonson county deserve the best and we are doing what we can to make that happen," he said.
Meredith said that the board plans on sending applications home with students this week with the help from local schools. He also added that if parents could also obtain applications from himself or any other board member: Chad Clemmons, Stewart Lich, Chris Webb, Alison Lile, Lori Alexander, Shawn McCombs, as well as John Kiernan.
Regular season will officially begin in April of 2019. You can also visit the Edmonson County Baseball/Softball Board on Facebook.