by Kristin Kjaero
February 13, 2010 (La Mesa) -- On Monday the lower field at Rolando Park in La Mesa was dedicated as the 40th official Little Padres Park.
Padres closing pitcher Heath Bell and president/CEO Tom Garfinkel were on hand for the occasion--much to the delight of Rolando Little League players and their families.
The project was a collaborative effort of the Rolando Little League, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, the City of La Mesa, and the San Diego Padres.
Construction was begun on Little Padre Park in July of last year. New irrigation, field grass, field dirt and fencing were installed.
Local dignitaries, including Supervisor Roberts and La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid, were also on hand for the occasion.
"As we are guided to inspire youth to live, learn and play, we are proud to continue those efforts so that boys and girls in San Diego and Baja California have a clean, safe place to play baseball and softball," the Padres website quote Garfield as saying.
Rolando Little League draws about 60% of its players from La Mesa and 40% from San Diego.
In addition to the new field, Rolando Little League worked previously with the City and Supervisor Jacob on a new batting cage, which is about 90% complete, only a rubber floor is still needed, according to Rolando Little League volunteer Sam Griffiths, who coordinated the projects.
At that time, a new path also made the entire park ADA accessible.
“I would say the facilities are some of the best in the city by far,” Griffiths said proudly.
Rolando Little League has signed an agreement with the City for the League will maintain the grass and everything on the field. In addition to still funding a rubber floor for the batting cage, the League has ambitious plans for maintaining the high quality of the field, as well as hopes to further expand facilities in future.
The League has an ongoing program to sell engraved bricks for the Zone Picnic Area, open to individuals as well as businesses.
“IF anyone wants to sponsor the league we can put bricks in with their names on it. It will also help with maintenance and expanding facilities,” Griffiths stated. Details can be found here.
Teams are currently practicing; Opening Day will commence the new season on March 6.