Future generations of youth baseball players in Red Bank can look forward to a newly updated and renovated field in the borough, thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.
A joint initiative between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball, Baseball Tomorrow promotes the development of youth baseball and softball nationwide and across the globe.
Red Bank will use the money to renovate a ballfield in Count Basie Park, which will primarily consist of laying down new turf. The announcement was officially made on Thursday, Dec. 6, but the governing body again acknowledged the grant at the Borough Council meeting on Wednesday.
"There will be installation of artifical turf, a dugout and a peripheral mound on the baseball field," Councilwoman Juanita Lewis announced at the meeting. "And so that will be huge in the growth of the baseball program."
Poor drainage and heavy use have long plagued the baseball field and several other playing fields in Count Basie Park, very often leaving them in such poor condition that they were found unplayable during athletic seasons. In addition to the grant for the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, the borough has sought state and county grants to cover the rest of the renovation costs (for all fields in the park).
Plans to renovate and correct the problems of the fields have been in fruition since May 2011 with goals of being complete by this fall, but the going has been slow. Hurricane Sandy also did not help matters, although the park sustained no significant damage.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund awards grants to support field renovation and construction projects such as this, although it also contributes donations towards sports equipment and uniforms for players, among other necessary purchases.
Formed in 1999, Baseball Tomorrow has awarded over 665 grants totaling more than $23 million to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations worldwide, and approximately 325,000 young athletes have benefited from baseball and softball initiatives supported by the organization.