The Zearing ball fields are in the process of getting a makeover, thanks to grant money received from the Kansas City Royals.
Charlie Good of Nevada, and former Veterans Memorial Ball Field board member, applied for the $5,000 grant and recently found out the fields had been chosen. The money will be used for a new backstop fence, baseline, home run fence, flag poles, flags and limestone for the fields’ surface. Flags honoring the country’s veterans have been placed near the entrance to the park where the fields are located, as well as behind home plate on one of the fields.
"It’s more of a way to say ‘thank you’ for their (veterans) service," Good said of the flags.
Despite having turned over responsibility of the fields to five new board members this past February, Good feels it is important to keep the fields in excellent playing condition for the young ball players.
"The goal is to give every kid who plays there a major league experience at a Little League park," Good said.
He explained major league baseball teams are required to give out so much money each year. A requirement of the grant was applicants needed to show the fields are used regularly. With the North Story County Little League program and Colo-Nesco recreational ball programs both using the fields throughout the summer, in addition to the Little League tournaments held at the field, that was an easy requirement to meet, Good said.
The improvements made possible by the grant money are not the only updates the fields have seen over the years. In the past, Good has tried to do something new for the fields each year. Last year, he put up new lights to make the fields eligible to host Little League tournaments. He also replaces the surface of the fields each year. To finance these yearly improvements, local businesses are given the opportunity each year to sponsor signs that have their name and/or logo on them. These signs are hung on the fences surrounding the fields. The number of sponsoring businesses has been as high as 84, but recently that number has dropped to approximately 70.
Good said all of those improvements have been done "to give the kids the best possible thing they can have."
"To me, it’s the showplace of Zearing. It’s the best complex in Story County," Good said.