Arlington’s Field of Dreams Expands

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A lack of members hasn’t been a problem for the Arlington Southwest Little League, which, at almost 2,000 annual players, ranks among the largest Little Leagues in the world.

But the sports complex where the young athletes play lacks adequate parking and field space. Little League organizers long have pleaded their case for more room. By next spring, their dream will become reality.

The City Council recently approved $1.38 million in improvements at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Sports Center on Golf Club Drive in the southwest part of the City where the teams play. Construction on the six-month project, which includes almost 200 new lighted parking spaces and two new baseball fields, is expected to begin this fall.

“The Little League told us that their priorities were fields and parking so we’re happy to be able to make that happen,” said Kurt Beilharz, the parks project manager for the City of Arlington. “On game days they’re putting parking anywhere they can. This should help them a lot.”

Families have been parking in overflow grassy areas, particularly during the spring season when the registration numbers are the highest, said Brett Smith, the president of Arlington Southwest Little League. He said the upgrades to the site have been slated for years.

“Every year it’s been ‘Just wait until next year,’” Smith said of the field improvements. “But no one could have predicted our growth.”

Smith said that the group’s combined registration for fall and spring has swelled in three years from 400 players to more than 2,000.

“It really brought on this need to expand,” Smith said. “There was nothing available on the weekends for parking and we were filling up on other days, too.”

Currently, there are six baseball fields at the site. The two new fields, parking spaces and required irrigation for the fields are what the City can afford to add right now, Beilharz said.

A larger Parks Department master plan envisions that the 86-acre complex–which is adjacent to Tierra Verde Golf Club and also features hike, bike and nature trails—ultimately could house more ball fields, two playgrounds, batting cages, tennis courts, a skate park, additional parking spaces and sand volleyball courts.

Smith said in the meantime the club organizers look forward to the upcoming complex improvements. He said Arlington Southwest Little League plans to cap its registration which he said already puts it among an elite group of Little Leagues with such a high number of participants.

“We don’t want to deny people but we don’t want to dilute the product,” he said. “We’ve got about what we can handle.”

 

 

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Terri
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So happy about this improvement !

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