Davis Square Park baseball diamonds get facelifts

(The Gate/Sonya Eldridge)

(The Gate/Sonya Eldridge)

The opportunity to enjoy America’s favorite pastime has been revived in Davis Square Park following the completion of a Cubs Charities-funded facelift.  Members of the community, the Back of the Yards College Prep baseball team, Davis Square Park leagues and a number of public officials gathered Thursday, May 27 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate field improvements for two of the historic park’s baseball diamonds.

“We’re thrilled to be here today to celebrate the rededication of beautiful Davis Square Park,” said Keri Blackwell of Cubs Charities.  “The Chicago Cubs are committed to providing opportunities for kids to play baseball and softball all across Chicago.  And that’s why we gave about a million dollars to support baseball and softball programs, to invest in indoor training facilities and to renovate parks just like this one.” The renovation project included the installation of two electronic scoreboards, pitching mounds, infield bases, home plates and bleachers. There was no shortage of excitement among neighborhood children who were thrilled to hang out and get their photos taken with special guest, Clark the Cub.

Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), BYNC Board President Phil Fuentes and LISC Executive Director Meghan Harte gave remarks at the ceremony, among other community leaders.

“The first time I was in Davis Square Park was in 2003,” Chicago Park District Supt. Mike Kelly said.  “At the time, the roof was in the pool, that tennis court was all broken up, that field over there was all weeds and that playground over there was falling down and I don’t even know if there were rims on that basketball court, but I’m proud to say that that tennis court was converted to artificial turf, the pool was rebuilt, the playground was rebuilt, and today, this beautiful field [renovation] in partnership with the Cubs,” he said.

Officers from the 9th Police District including Cmdr. Daniel Godsel and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) were also among those in attendance.  In 2014, the BYNC was a recipient of a Cubs Charities Diamond Project grant. The goal of the Cubs Charities Diamond Project is to expand opportunities for children to play baseball, create or preserve green space in underserved neighborhoods and to foster a love of baseball.