The Cleveland Indians will host the organization's third annual Fields for the Future project on Thursday at Halloran Park on Cleveland's West Side (3550 W. 117th St.).
The club will collaborate with Cleveland Indians Community partners MCPc, Minutemen, Mo Vaughn Transport, Pepco/Victory Park Ohio, Electronic Merchant Systems and Car Parts Warehouse; The Motz Group; the City of Cleveland; Fox Sports Ohio; Subway; Sherwin-Williams and various community members to complete the project.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes and his wife, Jenna - who made a financial donation to support the project - Cleveland Director of the Department of Public Works Michael Cox, and City of Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley and Ward 11 Councilwoman Dona Brady will be on hand to unveil renovations at approximately 12 PM, with Gomes catching the first pitch.
"Our Fields for the Future program is a key piece of our long-term goal to improve the quality of youth baseball in Cleveland," said Indians Executive Director of Community Impact Rebecca Kodysh. "We work with a number of valued partners on the project, which could not happen without their support."
Preparations for the event will begin on Wednesday, with The Motz Group regrading the field, installing a drainage system and building a pitcher's mound. With support from MLB's Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a field maintenance clinic will also be provided to City of Cleveland staff members who maintain the field. On Thursday, BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence will help to coordinate volunteers on hand to assemble new bleachers, paint playground equipment, benches, and the tennis/basketball courts, and install new dugout benches.
This program will serve as a precursor to Play Ball Weekend taking place May 24 and 25; Play Ball was launched last year by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball as the sport's largest effort to encourage widespread participation in both formal and informal baseball activities.
The Fields for the Future program began in 2015 at Luke Easter Park on Cleveland's East Side. In 2016, a field at Gunning Recreation Center was renovated. According to the City of Cleveland, field usage improved tremendously after the renovations, with the number of games played at the fields growing four-fold.