Turf For The Field Of Dreams And A Chevy For The PECHS Football Stadium
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The Field of Dreams is going to have artificial turf. Shoeless Joe probably doesn't think it makes sense (he didn't understand the need for lights), but come next July when the Dixie Youth Baseball AAA and State Tournaments hit Farmville, the kids will apparently be playing on the plastic grass.
I suggest we start drinking Gatorade now. It's going to be hot times a thousand.
But it will be nice.
It wasn't a secret that the Town of Farmville, which owns the Field of Dreams complex was going to spruce things up before next July. The extent, especially the mention of turf, which was printed in Wednesday's Herald, came across as a surprise to me when I read Ken Woodley's article.
Using field turf on a youth league field in Southside Virginia goes against the grain, but it makes sense. Turf opens up the complex to a lot of possibilities; not just youth sports. One, is hosting weekend slow pitch softball tournaments played by grown-ups. People spend mad money on those things, and if the town is able to get in on the action, they will pay dividends over the life of the turf – which can last about ten years.
Tournaments can be hosted in months where the weather can be less predictable than a 98 degree day in July.
It sounds like the Prince Edward Farmville Youth Association, which at this point pretty much has exclusive run of the complex, will have to share the facility. Hopefully all parties will be able to work together.
PEFYA needs the Field of Dreams to conduct its spring and summer activities, as well as a fall league that's not as big as the traditional season, but just as important. Fall leagues have been a key component in why PE Farmville teams, both baseball and softball, are bringing home more than sportsmanship trophies in All-Stars competition.
The days of “two and barbecue” are an exception for PE Farmville squads. A couple of short years ago, it was the rule. A 32-2 win, though not what you really would like to see, is worlds better than a 32-2 loss. Prince Edward Farmville has been on both sides of that ledger.
The town will need to recoup an investment, and kids should and will get to play in a top-of-the-line facility. Provided everyone can get along, it will be a win-win for both parties.
According to Wednesday's article, county representatives attended the meeting. The town hoped that the county would be able to chip in some money for the improvements.
The article reports that the county declined, citing the need to address the athletic fields and facility improvements at the Prince Edward County School Complex.
Hopefully, it didn't mean that if they invested in the Field of Dreams, they wouldn't be on good ground to tell the schools no when the subject of field renovation came up.
Prepare to read a harsh but to the point statement. One day, someone will have to pay for the substandard conditions at the PECHS football/baseball field.
Whether it's through renovation or negligence.
Again, it's harsh, but it's a harsh reality. The lighting is below substandard. The stands are incomplete and uncomfortable and nowhere near ADA compliant. Through no lack of effort by people who are educators and not turf experts, the field is in a condition that no amount of TLC is going to improve it.
This is no longer about aesthetics, school pride or even embarrassment. This is a safety issue.
I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think saw a picture of the stadium on a poster advertising tetanus shots.
Though not wise, past talk without action is understandable.
Two times in the past 12 years there have been studies on what can be done to improve the baseball/football stadium. Both times, it seems consultants have come back with plans to build the Cadillac of high school sports facilities.
It would be nice. A Cadillac would be nice to drive. Most people settle for a Chevrolet, because it gets them safely from point A to B, and it's better than not having a car at all.
The school doesn't need a Cadillac. All it needs is a Chevrolet, or in this case, separate and safe football/baseball facilities. It doesn't need skyboxes, individual fold down seats in the stands, HDTV standard lighting or…well…artificial turf.
But make no mistake, the stadium needs a major overhaul.
The time for talk is long past. It's time to put some shovels in the ground.