Massachusetts Youth Sports Facility Ready to Open, 20 Years Later
23 Jan, 2019By: Michael Popke
Last year, we reported on the long-delayed development of a Colorado youth sports complex near Denver. Now, it appears Massachusetts has its own version of a decades-in-the-making facility.
After more than 20 years, members of the Westport Youth Athletic Association say the first four of a planned six baseball fields could open in the Town of Westport — located about 30 miles east of Newport, R.I. — this spring.
“It really depends on how fast the grass grows this spring,” wrote WYAA board member Kenneth Sullivan in an email obtained by The Herald News of Fall River, Mass. “Since there can be no heavy usage in the first year of growth, I don’t anticipate league games there until fall 2019.”
Another WYAA board member, Robert Grillo, told the paper that an additional three multipurpose fields are planned, as well as a walking trail and an accessible playground.
The association has worked on developing 80-acre complex since at least 1997, according to the paper, and “now some WYAA members have adult children whose youth sports days have been long retired.”
The WYAA reportedly has raised more than $2 million — more than half of that in private funding, with other money coming from state and town Community Preservation Act funds. An additional $930,000 is needed, which association officials expect to raise soon.
“We want [the complex] not just for the youth leagues but open to the public,” Grillo told The Herald News. “Schools could use it for the overflow. It is something that the town needs because the only place to play [youth sports] is on school fields.”