I want to begin by saying thank you for coming to opening day of our new parks and giving us coverage. The new softball and baseball complex is truly an asset for the city and something we have needed for many years. It does not serve just the children of Leeds but the city as a whole. It took 18 months to build and survived politics, finance problems, a strict budget, snowstorms, a tornado and one of the wettest seasons we have had in a very long time.
Due to budget constraints and certain circumstances the city was short in the funding to finish the fields. A group of businesses and citizens stepped up and made this dream a reality. Without them we would not have batting cages, sidewalks, landscaping and many of the other extras that were needed to finish the park.
Lehigh Cement was the first to help and donated more than everyone else together. They provided cement for free or at a reduced price and hauled it to the site.
Patterson Pharmacy and Jones Walker Law Firm made the batting cages and extra fencing possible. Barber Motorsports Park (George Barber) donated over four hundred shrubs and trees for landscaping. Alabama Power; Quickrete; Massey, Stotser and Nichols, PC; Regions Bank; Leeds Masonic Lodge; and American Legion Post 107 all gave donations to get this project done.
Of special note is T.E. Ibberson a Minnesota company who was here for Lehigh and loved Leeds so they gave us money to use. Two private citizens, Dennis Alverson (donated special built windows plus shipping from Florida) and Dewitt Self (a longtime teacher and band director) in honor of family members and the youth of Leeds.
The budget was extremely tight and every dollar counted. I will never forget what all of these people have done for Leeds or its children. The private donations are what made completion of the fields possible.
For a city the size of Leeds where many businesses are small and have had to deal with the recession, I know giving money to a government project is tough in these times. These people had the vision to understand how important this project was to the City of Leeds and the impact it would have for years.
I hope your readers will visit our parks to see our newest gem and how the City of Leeds is changing.
R. Eric Patterson, Mayor, Leeds