Two renovated fields at Darby Park will be dedicated Saturday, part of an effort to revive baseball in Inglewood that has received a financial boost from Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and his wife Betsy.
The Gonzalezes made donations to pay for the renovations along with offsetting expenses related to uniforms, equipment and various resources for players in Inglewood participating in the Dodgers Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
The donations also led to the elimination of Inglewood’s $25 registration fee for all players, making it free for youths to play baseball and softball in the city, a team official said.
“We hope our support helps ease the burden of many families and gives hundreds of kids the opportunity to participate,” Adrian Gonzalez said.
The $300,000 project was also financed by the Ahmanson Foundation, the Inglewood Department of Parks, Recreation and Library Services, the LA84 Foundation and the insurance company Security Benefit.
Renovations include a large regulation-size field with a skinned infield for use by multiple age groups, and a second youth-sized field with a new turf infield. New fencing, irrigation and LED solar scoreboards were also included.
The fields are the 46th and 47th to be renovated or built under the Dodgers Dreamfields program, which began in 2003 when the team was owned by the Fox Group. It continued when Frank McCourt owned the team from 2004-2012 and under the current ownership.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has spent $7.7 million on 47 fields with a long-term goal of completing 50, according to Nichol Whiteman, the foundation’s executive director.
The foundation is the team’s official charity, supporting programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy, health and wellness benefiting children and families throughout the Los Angeles area.
Its programs are funded through private donations and various fundraising events. Team finances are not used.
The LA84 Foundation manages Southern California’s share of the surplus from the 1984 Summer Olympics and supports a wide array of youth sports programming.
The Ahmanson Foundation funds cultural projects in the arts and humanities, education at all levels, health care, programs related to homelessness and underserved populations and a wide range of human services in an attempt to enhance the quality of life and cultural legacy of the region.
—City News Service
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