School board decision gets ball rolling on Wallace Park field work
Volunteers Kevin Keely, left, and Bradley Keely take sledgehammers to the old dugouts at Fireman’s Field in order to soon replace them.
With the decision last week by the Louisiana R-II School Board to complete the funding, work has begun on the renovation of Fireman’s Field at Wallace Memorial Park in Louisiana.
On Tuesday, July 23 the school board voted to spend up to $15,000 on the project.
The city of Louisiana, which owns the field, has budgeted $20,000 toward the renovations, which has a preliminary cost estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.
A large portion of the city’s donated cost will come in the form of fencing for the field. The city recently acquired the fencing for just a bit over half-price through a Missouri state surplus goods agency.
The Louisiana Khoury League already donates $4,000 annually to a renovation fund for the park’s ball fields. The Twin Pike Family YMCA has offered to donate land to the city to add parking space at the park.
A community renovation committee for the project includes those two entities, the Louisiana school district officials and city officials.
The field is being upgraded for the high school district tournament to be hosted by Louisiana High School in October.
It is also hoped by the committee that the field will attract other softball tournaments in the future. The committee plans to stay together for future field renovations at the park.
Louisiana High School Athletic Director Curtis Hendrickson got the idea to renovate the field to state specifications last year just after he landed the district tourney.
The original plan was to renovate Dewey Field at the park, where the LHS girls softball team has played in recent years.
That field turned out to be unsatisfactory for Khoury League pitch ball and Twin Pike Family YMCA co-ed softball needs, Hendrickson told the school board.
That’s when the committee turned its attention to Fireman’s Field, Hendrickson said. The committee opted to have YMCA games on the large baseball field at the park, with the LHS softball team and Khoury League playing on Fireman’s Field.
Plans call for a new backstop, fencing around the field, a new scoreboard and dugouts.
Surveyors got the project going on Wednesday, July, 24. On Saturday, July 27, volunteers started demolishing the fences and dugouts so that construction can begin.
Hendrickson expects the field will be ready in time for the district tournament.