A host of dignitaries gathered at Ronald L. Feist Park in Granite Bay Wednesday, March 16 to celebrate $40,000 in improvements that have transformed Coker-Ewing Field into one of the marquee Little League fields in California.
Officials from Placer County, the Lakeside Little League, Chevrolet, Ripken Design and other participants in the project were on hand for the field-dedication celebration.
The guest of honor was Marie Kennedy, a Granite Bay resident who made the project possible.
“I just feel good for the kids. It makes the game more joyful for them,” she explained afterward.
The chain of events that led to Wednesday’s celebration began when Kennedy decided to enter a sweepstakes sponsored by Chevrolet, hoping to win a new car.
She didn’t win, but was a runner-up. The prize: a $40,000 makeover of a baseball or softball field through the 2010 Building Diamonds and Dreams Promotion sponsored by Chevrolet and The Scotts Company.
Kennedy was not sure how to proceed, but talked it over with a friend from her church. Her inquiries led her to the Lakeside Little League and Feist Park.
The16.3-acre park is managed by the Placer County Parks and Grounds Division and serves as Lakeside’s home. It is located at 9180 Twin Schools Road between Granite Bay High School and Oakhills School.
Feist Park was one of five recipients nationwide to receive makeovers through the promotion.
The upgrades to Coker-Ewing Field focused on providing Major League-quality materials to improve its aesthetics and playability. The makeover included a reconstructed pitcher’s mound, new infield skin, re-cut base paths, a new home plate and bases, drainage improvements and new coaches’ boxes.
Placer County Executive Officer Thomas M. Miller spoke during Wednesday’s ceremony, noting that Granite Bay residents demonstrated their dedication to their community by approving a park assessment district in 2001.
He also pointed out that Kennedy’s gift is the latest in a long series of Feist Park improvements contributed by the public. Altogether, Granite Bay community members have invested about $1.5 million in the park, he said.
“Chevrolet’s ‘Building Diamonds and Dreams’ program is another facet of our commitment to youth baseball programs across America,” said Chevrolet Marketing Manager Phil Caruso in a press release. “Every young ball player wants and deserves a ‘dream’ baseball diamond and Chevrolet, along with our partner, The Scotts Company, is proud to have brought one to the Granite Bay community.”
The field upgrades were designed and completed last November by Ripken Design and Sports Fields Inc. Ripken Design is a sports design and consulting firm owned by National Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. and 12-year Major League Baseball veteran Bill Ripke
At the end of Wednesday’s ceremony, Chevrolet presented Kennedy with several souvenirs, including a baseball autographed by Cal Ripken, Jr.