Baseball field slated for Collins Street neighborhood
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org June 25, 2012 8:58PM
Updated: July 27, 2012 6:25AM
JOLIET — Collins Street kids should get a new baseball field by next spring.
The Joliet Park District made an initial move Monday to make the future baseball field possible at Desmond Park.
The Collins Street Neighborhood Association sought a new baseball diamond, and the group’s president said at least 200 kids will be using the field.
“There’s never been a baseball field that they can walk to or practice at,” Amy Sanchez told the park board before officials voted.
It’s not over yet, however.
The park board approved the $20,000 purchase of new playground equipment for the park to replace aging equipment that would have to be relocated to make room for baseball. The total cost of the project is about $60,000, said park district Executive Director Dominic Egizio.
Park officials are looking to the local residents to raise funds and help with construction of the field. The foundation of an old wading pool has to be removed, for example, and that can be done with the help of volunteers, Egizio said. Some other assets to be purchased include a backstop and outfield fence.
“We’ll probably have an outfield fence because of where it’s located,” Egizio said. “We’d be concerned about a child running into the street.”
Desmond Park is located at the corner of Henderson Avenue and Columbia Street.
Just how much more money the park district contributes to the baseball field may depend on how much money the neighborhood group can raise.
Sanchez said she believes there will be support from neighbors and businesses. There has been a long-standing effort to bring a baseball field to the neighborhood. Young players have traveled to other parks to play, Sanchez said, but, “Some parents don’t let their kids go to the other neighborhoods.”
There was a neighborhood baseball field at nearby Heggie Park, Sanchez said, but that was replaced with soccer fields years ago.
The Collins Street team is part of a Unity Community Development Corp. baseball organization that is entering its fourth year.