The Weatherford Little League has been around a long time, but with the help of a few friends this season had a newness to it.
Nancy Coker, co-vice president of Weatherford Little League said the city of Weatherford and area businesses led the way as the organization received some improvements to its facilities prior to the 2016 season. She said in all, over $50,000 worth of work has been done since 2015.
The list includes a new sound system on the Carmichael score tower, three new scoreboards (Riddle, Williams and Charles Street fields), field resurfacing on Williams and Carmichael Fields, new turf and netting on two batting cages, painting of some buildings, and new bleachers on Brunson and Carmichael Fields.
"These improvements not only help with the safety of the kids and families, but make it a better experience for the spectators," Coker said. "It helps to make the park more appealing by keeping the park updated."
Coker said she believes the bleachers had been there since the fields were originally built, around 50 years. She said most of the scoreboards were at least 20 years old.
"It was necessary for safety as well as to better accommodate those that come to the game with the ease of being able to get in and out of the stands," she said, adding about the scoreboards, "We had started replacing them when we started encountering problems. Brunson field was replaced three years ago, girls t-ball field was replaced last year, and Riddle, Williams and Charles Street Field were replaced this year.
"The infield resurfacing was completed for safety as well as a better playing surface. This is something that should be looked at about every 10 years."
Coker said the relationship between the WLL and the city is stronger than it has ever been. Also, it helps the local economy by allowing district playoff games and the WLL Tournament as visitors shop, eat, buy gas and even spend the night while their teams compete.
"Without this relationship the thousand-plus kids of this community would not have a nice place to come play baseball and softball, to feel safe or have a place for families to come together," she said.
"Any time we can have a group creating tournaments or events in Weatherford it increases tourism and recognition to our city," said Shannon Goodman, director of parks, recreation and special events for the city.
"The WLL provides a great community service to Parker County and the residents of the City of Weatherford by keeping a strong working relationship between the city and the WLL. This helps the city to keep the cost of managing a program like this down to a minimum, and allows the city to support an all-volunteer group in providing excellent outdoor recreation to our youth."
Coker also credited local businesses for their contribution to keep the WLL strong.
"The business around our community each season help sponsor the improvements to the park and WLL," she said. "Each scoreboard has the sponsors' name on it. The various sponsors to help support WLL are posted on the WLL website."
Coker said other projects are on the horizon. They include the city and WLL continually evaluating the upkeep of Soldier Spring Park for safety and enjoyment, along with redoing the parking lot, replacing some of the older bleachers and resurfacing more fields.
"Without the support of our parents, families, businesses, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the many volunteers there would not be a Weatherford Little League," she said.
"WLL provides a great outdoor youth program to the area residents that teaches teamwork and pride to the youth," Goodman said. "But it also fosters community pride and support from families and local businesses.
"This is a part of the things that are very important to any community and what makes Weatherford a great place to live and raise a family."