Little League Urban Initiative Unveils New Little League Tee Ball Field in Portland Oregon
The Little League Urban Initiative and the Portland (Ore.) Development Commission recently dedicated a field for the Lents Little League Tee Ball program in Portland.
A ceremony was held at Lents Park to unveil a new multi-field complex, which includes the Tee Ball field built by Landmark Construction Solutions. Funding for development of the field was provided by a $50,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation on behalf of the Little League Urban Initiative.
“Little League is pleased to complete this renovation project, and is proud of the impact it will have on the young children starting out in Lents Little League,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Lents Little League has done an outstanding job in providing quality Little League programs for the children in their neighborhood. The development of this Tee Ball field is an extension of Lents Little League’s commitment to providing a well-run and well-organized program.”
Lents Park is owned and maintained by the City of Portland, and the complex has three adjacent Little League-size fields. The 2009 season will be the first that Lents Little League, a part of Little League’s Oregon District 2, will be playing at the Lents Park site since its inaugural season in 1953.
The Tee Ball field features a backstop, dugout benches, base cutouts, new fencing, an irrigation system and newly-seeded grass. Seven Lents Little League teams will be using the field this season.
Lents Little League has more than 230 children participating on 17 teams in various divisions for the 2009 season.
“This field will be accepted with open arms,” Sue Bush, President of Lents Little League, said. “The entire neighborhood is interested in the development of Lents Park. Being a volunteer in Lents Little League for 16 years, and working with Portland’s urban renewal project for nine years, it was awesome when the Little League Urban Initiative stepped up to build this field.
“Lents Little League prides itself on giving every child in our area the chance to play ball,” Mrs. Bush said. “This program is very important to our community. I anticipate these new fields will increase player enrollment, because this project has already helped our volunteer membership base increase by about 30 percent.”
“This Little League was originally established in Lents Park in 1953. In 1955, Lents Little League was moved to the smaller 92nd and Harold location,” Byron Estes, Portland Development Neighborhood Division Manager, said. “PDC is proud to help bring Lents Little League back home to Lents Park.”
On Memorial Day weekend 2009, Little League International will host the sixth annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree. Over three days, 10 baseball teams (six Major Division; four Junior Division) will experience the thrill of traveling to Williamsport, Pa., site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series, for a weekend of friendly games, instruction and education.
The Little League Urban Initiative provides assistance packages for eligible leagues that aid the local volunteer group with equipment acquisition, capital improvement cash grants, field improvement and renovation, access to Little League Baseball and Softball education and training programs, advocacy, and networking.
A component of Little League Baseball and Softball, the Little League Urban Initiative began in 1999 with programs in Los Angeles, and Harlem, N.Y., and expanded to other cities in 2000. The program is currently operating in nearly 85 cities in the United States.
Through the 2008 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of nearly 2,800 teams, which equates to more than 43,000 players, and has participated in 21 field renovation/development projects.