Community support helps improve Murray baseball fields

Community support is bringing changes to several Calloway County baseball fields.

Five baseball fields at Central Park in Murray, Ky haven’t seen major updates in more than 20 years.  Parent Jamey McDaniel grew up playing ball here at central park in Murray.  

"A  lot of these fields and facilities look very much the same as they have for the last 25 to 30 years," McDaniel said. Now his son Cuyler McDaniel plays on them.

"The first time it felt kind of weird because I was on a new field," Cuyler said. Cuyler gets to reap the benefits of renovations.

"It’s been a lot more enjoyable," Cuyler said.

This month one of the fields finished major renovations thanks to a sponsorship from Saputo. CFSB signed up last week to help fix another field. Three more fields need sponsorships or donations. 

A park referendum voted down last year would’ve helped pay for the renovations. Parent Niamey McDaniel thinks some kind of monetary support to parks is important.

"I definitely understand maybe some of the tax payers reluctance, but at the same time when you consider how much our parks and facilities mean to our communities, how many families, how many people come through here- again, not just from our Murray, Callow Community. It’s very much a focal point of our town in the summer," McDaniel said.

Parks Director tab Brockman says Saputo’s sponsorship shows the final product a company can help provide.  Changes to the field include a concrete walkway accessible to anyone which does away with their mud problems. They built a new dug out, and are using netting instead of fencing. They also put a french drain around the outside of the field to help it drain out quicker so kids can get back to playing faster.

Brockman says these improved fields  can bring in more than a $100,000 in economic development during large tournaments.

"When our guests come and see the commitment that the community is making it makes them feel very good about playing ball here and coming back," Brockman said.

He hopes these improvements encourage others to donate. So kids, can keep enjoying team sports and lessons learned from them.

"I’m a firm believer in team sports and the values it can teach you about life, something bigger than self learning, to win graciously, and lose graciously. I think it’s invaluable," McDaniel said.

Brockman hopes these Saputo and CFSB’s donations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to donations. 

"There are so many needs at the parks. There are the ball fields, the trails, the pool, the pavilion, on and on. There is a list of things that really need attention, but this is a great step, and until you take the first step you can’t get on the way with the journey," Brockman said. 

Brockman says a sponsorship donation of $25,000 covers the renovation of a field and gives a company, organization, or cooperation the naming rights of the field for 10 years. The parks have three fields available to name.

When everything is added up, the fields are worth close to $40,000 according to Brockman, but donated labor and supplies is helping bring down the cost.

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