Berkshire Baseball Club Inc. plans to spend $1.5 million to renovate and upgrade a 22-acre athletic complex in Berks County.
While that's a hit with many sports fans, some observers are crying foul – mainly because county commissioners are granting the club 20 years of leasing rights for a dollar a year.
The arrangement calls for the not-for-profit organization to handle scheduling, routine maintenance and the concession stand.
"We are really excited about this," said Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt.
Barnhardt has two good reasons to be excited.
First, the county no longer has to expend a lot of energy on the complex.
Second, the site will become a state-of-the-art four-field complex.
Planned upgrades include:
- Renovating fields 2 and 4 by cutting the infields back to accommodate 90-foot base paths.
- Renovating field 1 by cutting the infield back to accommodate 70-foot base paths.
- Installing at least two sets of batting cages.
- Installing outfield fences for fields 2, 3 and 4.
- Installing bullpen areas on all fields.
- Installing electronic scoreboards on all four fields.
- Installing roofs over player bench areas on all fields.
- Installing lights on fields 1, 2 and 3.
- Extending the walking path between fields 2 and 3 to the parking lot.
- Installing press boxes or scoring stations and additional bleacher seating for all fields.
The president and general manager of Berkshire Baseball is game for the challenge.
"Over the years we have donated more that $210,000 to improve baseball fields all across Berks County," said Daniel C. Clouser.
"We have provided college recruiting seminars and workshops to help educate our players and parents on the labyrinth that has become college recruiting. We have provided coaches clinics to help educate not only our own, but all local coaches who wish to participate."