At the second, 43 teams entered.
It was a heady start for the new fields, which celebrated Opening Day Saturday. The fields, located at the rear of Veterans Memorial Park off Alabama 119, were begun in 2010 and represent an investment of around $1.6 million, according to Mayor Eric Patterson.
“It’s awesome,” Patterson said. “It’s been over 40 years since the other fields in Leeds were built. This is a big step in bringing our parks and recreation department up to the same level as the people around us.
“We’re finally giving the kids in this city what they deserve.”
The council established a $1.5 million line of credit to build the facility, which includes five fields, three batting cages and a 250-car parking lot. The project also included more than $100,000 in private donations, from Lehigh Cement, John and Norma Patterson and George Barker. The city also received help in labor from the Alabama Department of Corrections, to build sidewalks and lay sod, along with the city’s public works crews.
“The number of contributors was few,” Patterson said. “They each made sizeable contributions.”
The mayor also noted that the park is completely handicap accessible.
“There’s nowhere you can’t go in this park with a wheelchair,” Patterson said.
The fields were originally scheduled to be ready for the 2011 season, but weather and financing constraints pushed them back a year.
Even so, Patterson was happy with what he saw Saturday.
“If you come to Leeds on a weekend now, you’ve never seen it more alive,” he said. “There are people visiting and our parks are full.
“It’s doing a lot to bring people to the city.”
Contact Will Heath at email@example.com.