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Reds fund opens revitalized youth field

Construction at school in Madisonville had damaged site

Taking rundown youth baseball fields and making them safe for play and enjoyable for the neighborhood has been one of the Reds Community Fund's most successful initiatives the past four years.

On Wednesday, another diamond was dedicated after being taken out of the rough and made new again.

The baseball field at Anderson Place in Cincinnati's Madisonville neighborhood will be used primarily by the Madisonville Braves youth baseball organization and the students at John P. Parker Elementary School.

Because of showers on Wednesday, the dedication was moved indoors to the school's gym. At the dedication were Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini, Reds Community Fund executive director Charley Frank and the mascot Rosie Red. A ribbon was still cut, and the signs for the new field were on display.

"It went really well," Frank said. "It was nice to engage people at the school. Teachers, students and the principal were really excited."

As has been the case with most of the fields renovated within the city of Cincinnati, the field will be maintained by the Cincinnati Recreation Commission as part of its collaboration with the RCF.

Anderson Place is the 254th field that's been renovated as part of the RCF's program, which started with 18 renovations in 2006 and went to another level once the Castellini and Williams families took over ownership of the Reds that year.

This latest field renovation, which involved bringing in 50 tons of dirt and regrading the infield for better drainage, was made possible in part by a $20,000 donation by Walmart to the RCF's baseball-themed outreach programs.

It was no coincidence that the retail chain opened its newest store in Fairfax a couple hours earlier on Wednesday, about one mile from the field location. Walmart was looking for a way to create goodwill with people in its newest backyard.

But there was a real need to fix this particular field so kids could play on it again. While Parker Elementary was being renovated, the baseball field was used as a storage site for construction equipment, which didn't leave until the school reopened last fall.

The RCF has also been working with the Madisonville Braves program the past three years.

"It literally was a perfect fit," Frank said. "The field is important for Madisonville and the school district."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for
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