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Fireman’s Field has been the somewhat neglected child of the three ballfields at Wallace Memorial Park in Louisiana for years, but that is about to change.
Last fall, Louisiana R-II School District Athletic Director Curtis Hendrickson came up with an idea to improve Fireman’s Field in order to meet high school regulations.
With the 2013 district tournament now in hand, Hendrickson has been quietly working with the school board, the Louisiana City Council, the Twin Pike Family YMCA and the Louisiana Khoury League to improve the field they all share.
In recent weeks, a committee with members from each entity has come up with a plan for improvements that are slated to start soon. The hope is to get the field ready in time for the district softball tourney in October.
“We hope to get started in the next couple of weeks,” Hendrickson said Friday, July 5. “We don’t want to build something that’s not good for the school and the Khoury League.”
The Louisiana High girls softball team will play on the new field, as will the Khoury League. The YMCA slow-pitch softball leagues will be shifted to the baseball field.
“When we move the fence in, it will be too short for slow-pitch softball,” Hendrickson said.
“We’ll use volunteer labor to demolish the current dugouts and fencing and lay cement blocks,” for the new backstop and dugouts. Plans also call for a new scoreboard and storage shed.
“This really took off when Sal Pollice got on the city council and (councilman) Larry White has been a big help too.”
“The city has $20,000 in the budget for the project, but it doesn’t mean we’ll spend that much,” Pollice said. “We hope it comes in under $30,000.”
The city has already covered half of the overall cost with new fencing that it recently purchased. The city recently bought 51 rolls of chain link fencing in 50-foot lengths that are six feet tall, according to City Administrator Bob Jenne.
The fencing was purchased for $50 a roll from the state government’s surplus goods department. “It’s normally $90 a roll,” Jenne said.
He is now awaiting specifications from the committee for the changes that need to go out to bid.
The school district has not pledged any money toward the project, but the school board has expressed interest in helping defray the final cost.
The committee will stay intact to look at possible future upgrades of all three fields at the park, according to both Hendrickson and Pollice.