Author: Caylee Kirby, WTOL11
TOLEDO, Ohio — After years of being run down, the sports field at Danny Thomas Park is home to a new youth development park.
"This is for the community and this is to help teach kids the values of sports and push them in the right direction," said Baseball Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken Jr.
He said he was excited to bring one of these parks to Toledo and stressed how important it is to have a place for kids to play so they don't turn to making negative decisions and getting caught in the wrong crowd.
The facility boasts a full synthetic turf field that can be used for football, soccer, baseball and softball, with the main goal of providing area youth a safe place to play outdoors.
"I am so excited. It's, it's gorgeous," said the Believe Center's Director, Tonya Duran.
A packed house to officially open the new Rick and Nancy Corbett Athletic Complex at Danny Thomas Park on Wednesday. It's designed to allow kids a place to play multiple sports outdoors.
"We feel that it gives them an opportunity for a safe and nurturing place to come and learn life skills and learn their way," said Melissa Jacobs who is part of Group 1001.
The field was created in-part through a partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to create turf facilities to help make a positive impact on youth's development.
For the community members who are on the field day-in and day-out, this updated field is a blessing.
"A couple weeks ago when I got the keys to the scoreboard, I actually cried because its a blessing. For 27 years of coaching on this field, now I don't have to cut the grass anymore, I don't have to pull out the weeds, I don't have to fix no bench," said Believe Center Director, Tonya Duran.
The commissioner for the department of public service said there's more to be done and this is just the beginning, but she's excited for the start and hopes to have the entire park done in two years.
Community members said field has already brought so much excitement to the kids in the area. Practice and games on the fields are expected to begin as early as March.