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Ford Heights Gets New Baseball Field

8/23/2017, noon | Updated on 8/23/2017, noon
“Ford Heights has seen decades of hardships and we haven’t seen a lot of productive investments in the community from ...
Through a collaborative effort, the Village of Ford Heights, one of the poorest suburbs in the country, was able to receive its first baseball field. Photo Courtney of Cook County Sheriff’s Office

FORD HEIGHTS GETS NEW BASEBALL FIELD

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

A coalition of public and private sector partners held a field dedication ceremony to unveil the first youth baseball field in the Village of Ford

Heights.

The baseball field was produced from years of collaborative efforts among the Cook County Sheriff ’s Office, Cubs Charities, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, James McHugh Construction Co, the Ford Heights Park District and other partners seeking to improve after-school activities in one of the country’s lowest-income suburbs, according to a Cook County press release.

Sam Randall, who is the director of communications for the Cook County Sheriff ’s Office, said the youth baseball teams didn’t have a baseball field to play and had to travel miles to play in neighboring towns.

Randall explained that Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart and Ford Heights Park District President and the Baseball League’s Coach George

“Kirby” Green connected with one another to end the baseball team’s problem.

“Ford Heights has seen decades of hardships and we haven’t seen a lot of productive investments in the community from outside sources,” he said.

Through forming partnerships and applying for grants, Dart and Green were able to receive $153,000 of funding for the baseball field from The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, according to a Cook County press release.

“This started with 10 kids in 2014,” Randall said. “Now, this field will be able to support five different teams including [55 athletes]. So, there

will be more opportunities to play baseball in the community.”

Randall said the kids were thrilled to see the baseball field and he knows that they will learn more discipline and teamwork out on the field.

Keri Blackwell, assistant director of Community Affairs and Chicago Cubs Charities, said Cubs Charities Diamond Project granted $47,000 because the Cubs organization wanted to demonstrate their appreciation for their fans and to provide opportunities to build the next generation.

We drove out to Ford Heights to take a look at the area where the baseball field intended to be developed and it was a very clear need with

the amount of kids playing and the lack of space,” Blackwell said. “It’s an honor for the Cubs to participate.”

Tom Stuit, vice president of McHugh Construction and project manager over the construction of the baseball field, said he knows that

the community is passionate about baseball and the field will help people to focus on something positive.

“This field will stand for years to come to help our children learn baseball and important life lessons about teamwork and success,” Green

stated in the Cook County press release. “We are overwhelmed by everyone’s support for our village and our children.”