RBI and Macon Little League team up to create million dollar field
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Macon Little league and Revitalizing Baseball in Inner Cities, RBI, are teaming up to make to give children the opportunity to play ball on a ‘state of the art’ field.
It’s a $1.5 million field that’s been in the works for three years. Macon-Bibb commissioners approved spending 750,000 SPLOST dollars on the field on Tuesday. Jeff Battcher, RBI administrator, got the Cal Ripken Sr. foundation to step up to the plate and sponsor the other half of the money.
“Sports can be a changing point in somebody’s life and it also can give you that education,” said Battcher. “I couldn’t have gone to college if it wasn’t a college scholarship. So let’s give these kids this opportunity because there’s so much we can do to help these kids, they just need a little bit of help.”
Freddie Steward, president of the Macon Little League, is ready to see the change coming to the Tom Fontaine field. He teamed up with Battcher and RBI a few years ago to give every kid the chance to play baseball.
“The addition of this field is going to help us tremendously, not only with the image of our ball park, but to recruit players, parents and volunteers into the program as well,” said Steward.
The plan is to make upgrades to the Tom Fonatine field and connect it with the field behind Matilda Hartley Elementary School. RBI already helps children join Macon Little League if they don’t have the money to play.
“At least 60 percent of our kids come from low income, single parent families,” said Steward. “The neighborhoods surrounding our ball park are public housing and those are the kind of kids we’re servicing here.”
Steward says the new field will be have turf throughout it and will be landscaped ‘beautifully’.
“The kids will be able to come play, the school will be able to use it for field days as multipurpose field,” said Steward. “They can use it for baseball, lacrosse.”
Giving kids a chance to swing away.
“We’re already playing ball here in our minds,” said Steward. “It’s exciting.”
The Bibb County Board of Education will vote on approving the expansion Thursday night and Macon-Bibb commissioners will have the final vote on funding half the money next week. Steward is hoping to have the field done just in time for baseball season in March.