A professional baseball legend is making a big investment in west Macon.
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is investing in a new $1.5 million ball field just behind Matilda Hartley Elementary School.
Brandon Willis loves playing little league baseball, but he says the facilities he has to use at Tom Fontaine Park next to Hartley aren’t the best.
They’re “rusted, rundown, and need to be redone,” Willis said.
Soon, he and his friends will have a new field to play on.
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is donating $750,000 to build an Astroturf field behind Hartley Elementary school. Macon-Bibb County is matching that amount to make the field a reality.
“At the completion will rival any of the fields in Middle Georgia and some of the southeast United States,” Bibb School Board member Lester Miller said. “It’s one of the first ones that they’ll be having for Cal Ripken Sr.. The closest thing I can come to in this area would perhaps be the field out in Warner Robins, the little league field, where they play some of the World Series games.”
Miller who helped bring the $1.5 million field to west Macon says it will be used for more than just baseball.
“Fast pitch softball, lacrosse, soccer, football -- it's going to be a multipurpose field and all of our students in Bibb County are going to be able to use it.”
Brandon's mom Darlene Archer can’t wait to watch her son play on the new diamond.
“These kids will love that,” Archer said. “There isn’t nothing like that you can ride around and scope for yourself and see.”
Miller say this field is something kids in west Macon will be proud of.
“Give them some hope,” Miller said. “I think a nice project like this in the middle of west Macon going to give these kids some hope. I think it’s going to be a great win for everybody.”
As for Brandon, he’s ready to run the bases and win a few games.
“We’re going to have a brand new field for playing baseball,” Willis said. “We don’t got to worry about bee houses or nails getting in our shorts.”
Miller says the new field should be ready for next baseball season.
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will also improve the Tom Fontaine little league fields next door.