- May 17, 2018
The Winter Garden Little League will host its opening day event Friday, March 3, while also celebrating its latest upgrade: field renovations.
At the Thursday, Feb. 9, Winter Garden City Commission meeting, City Manager Jon C. Williams addressed the commission explaining the city was approached by the Little League requesting the field enhancements.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the city entering into a memorandum of understanding for the refurbishments.
“The city of Winter Garden has been welcoming of this project from the start and (has) fully supported our visions for the future of Winter Garden Little League,” Little League President James Mooney said. “We are grateful to the city of Winter Garden who continue to support the Winter Garden Little League and look forward to building on our great relationship as we work toward future goals.”
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Mooney said when the Little League’s new board of directors started Oct. 1, 2022, the league began discussing ways to make Little League a better experience for the kids.
“Our first conversation was about the fields and what we can do to improve them,” Mooney said. “After researching other local fields, other leagues and feedback from parents from our Little League, we concluded that artificial turf and artificial mounds are being used in Central Florida more frequently due to the weather — large amounts of rain seasonally and constant heat — and the lower maintenance.”
After communicating with a few turf companies, the Little League contacted the city of Winter Garden and scheduled a meeting to propose a full infield of turf. Staff supported the proposed enhancements but believed the senior field needed to be included.
The overall quote to enhance all three fields would be $264,000, with the Little League to contribute $90,000 and the city to contribute $174,000.
However, the agreement only allows the league to move forward with converting one field of choice. The league opted to select field one.
“The reason that we feel that it’s better to proceed with one field as opposed to all three is in Winter Garden our soils are much different than you would find at any other place, so we have a little bit of a concern of how this artificial turf is going to respond from a stormwater perspective,” Williams said. “We do know that artificial turf during the summer time gets significantly hotter.”
If the feedback for the field is positive, then the city will consider the funding of renovations for the other fields when the season is over.
Williams said the fields have been a part of the whole Little League experience for years, and the fields play a very significant role in providing a shared venue for the folks that come out and play baseball.
“We’ve had a great, mutually beneficial relationship with Little League for years, and we just felt like being part of the project would enhance that relationship even more,” Williams said.
The field construction began Feb. 14 and should be completed this week.
“It will be a benefit to the community, as it will allow for better conditions of play for the Little League participants and will require less resources for upkeep,” Mooney said. “In 2025, Winter Garden Little League will celebrate its 75th anniversary, and collectively, the board of directors are working towards the goal of continual improvement of the entire Little League experience for every child that plays in our league.”