Community focused on making vision of Lovelady Sports Complex a reality
Houston County Courier
The Lovelady Youth Baseball & Softball organizations have been dreaming for more than 20 years of creating a sports complex, and they hope to soon make that dream a reality for the benefit of their more than 300 players.Currently, Lovelady is not equipped with baseball or softball fields for practice or play. The town's players practice in the pastures or yards of parents, coaches and local businesses. Lovelady Youth Baseball currently participates with the Crockett Merchants Little League and all games are held in Crockett. Lovelady Youth Baseball officials state, "While we are thankful for the opportunity to play with the Crockett Merchants Little League, the community would greatly benefit from local fields. The Lovelady Girls' Softball Association, along with their families, travels to surrounding towns such as Elkhart, Slocum and Grapeland to play due to our lack of facilities. "The only way for the youth in our town to play baseball or softball is to be part of the Crockett program, which creates a hardship for our parents and children. "With the addition of the Lovelady Sports Complex, our children would have the opportunity to practice locally, invite other community teams and host tournaments." In June 2006, Red Town Timberlands, LP of Macon, GA deeded five acres to the Lovelady Youth Baseball. In November 2008, an additional 11.771 acres was purchased and the park grew to 16.771 acres. Through the donations and efforts of local businesses and individuals the land was fully paid for and owned by Lovelady Youth Baseball in 2011. The area for the future Lovelady Sports Complex is located directly off of SH 19 next to the Evergreen Cemetery in Lovelady, giving it the advantage of frontage on both FM 1280 West and SH 19. Over the years there have been many individuals and community businesses involved in helping the Lovelady Youth Baseball and aiding in the construction of the complex. The goal now is to complete the fencing for at least one baseball, one softball field and any other portions of the complex still needed to complete. While portions of the complex have been completed, funds still are needed to complete the project. Some needed items include an irrigation system, a back stop, a batting cage, bleachers, fencing to surround the fields for safety, installation of a water well, lighting and sod for the fields. Once the complex is complete for the use of the baseball and softball teams, there is a future vision for expansion including additional practice fields for various sports, and potentially area for use between games or during practices. Supporters say, "A facility such as this will allow our youth to be exposed to a multitude of sporting events and learn from their many experiences. Unfortunately, children from rural communities such as Lovelady often miss out on such opportunities. Bringing the complex to Lovelady will not only benefit our children, but it will also boost the economy. Lovelady has a lot to offer and we want people to see what a great community we have here." The Lovelady Youth Baseball is a 501(c) (3) organization and all donations are tax deductible. For more than eight years, the Lovelady Youth Baseball has sold cookie dough each year to cover the cost of equipment. The Lovelady Girls' Softball Association also has been raising money by selling briskets and tickets to win various items in drawings. "In addition to this, we have had the support of a great community and wonderful businesses in our surrounding area. Any donations are greatly appreciated, if you are interested in helping there are a few different ways," officials explained. Today (Sunday, March 3), at 12 p.m., there will be a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the Lovelady Old Gym. Organizers hope this fundraiser will raise necessary monies to complete the fencing for at least two fields. Each dinner plate will be $7, with "to go" lunches available, also. In addition to the meal, there will be a dessert, live and silent auctions during the event. "We would really like to thank all of our area businesses and community supporters for donating items to the auctions," organizers said. If anyone else is interested in making a donation to the live or silent auctions, contact Sarah York at 936-204-3369. The organizations also are accepting donations directly to the bank or they may be mailed to Lovelady State Bank, P.O. Box 220, Lovelady, Texas 75851 (Please make checks payable to: Lovelady Youth Baseball – Field Account). For any additional information, call Lovelady Youth Baseball President David Murray at 936- 661-6864.