KIRKSEY — After sitting idle for several years, the Kirksey Ballpark showed serious signs of neglect. But now the park has a new mission with Murray Rockets Special Olympics and, thanks to a makeover from West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, is again providing a safe, welcoming environment for its users.
“When we learned that Special Olympics would be using the park, we wanted to help,” said West Kentucky RECC President & CEO David Smart. “We worked with Special Olympics to set priorities, then matched our resources with the work to be done. We also brought in two key partners to help, TVA and Swift Environmental.” Smart explained that Tennessee Valley Authority provided technical expertise to help with future plans for the site and Swift Environmental supplied heavy equipment that made it possible to accomplish the work quickly and efficiently.
Most of the actual cleanup and renovations at the ballpark were completed over a two-day period. About 30 West Kentucky RECC employees volunteered to help with the wide range of tasks. Fencing around the park’s old T-ball fields was cleared to make way for soccer and flag football. The fence around the softball field was repaired and topped with a bright yellow crown. Dugouts were renovated, the backstop was painted and piles of blocks and debris were cleared. The entire park was mowed and trimmed. Finally, the field was dragged and readied for play.
“We are so extremely grateful to WKRECC for their unsolicited and quick response to our need. They have the resources and skills to help us make our dreams for this field a reality,” said Laura Miller, West Regional Director for Special Olympics Kentucky.
“Of course, we wanted a safe and routine location to practice, but these fields are going to provide much more,” Miller added. “Our athletes will make this park a wonderful place for the community to enjoy, play, and fellowship. This provides a way for Special Olympics to give back to all the generous people who support our programs both financially and with words of encouragement.”
The ballpark renovation project is West Kentucky RECC’s submission to the statewide “Beautify the Bluegrass” competition hosted by Gov. Matt Bevin in partnership with Kentucky’s electric cooperatives and Kentucky Living Magazine.