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Coleman community raising funds for new youth sports complex

COLEMAN, Texas (KRBC) -- Coleman athletes will soon be saying good-bye to their youth sports complex and hello to a brand new one.

The fields have been in play for more than half a century and the community said a new one is overdue.

"Having something like this, it draws people to Coleman," Coleman Youth Association director, Lee Morrison said.

For years, Coleman's youth athletes have been playing on a field that is about 60 years old.

"Our fields are in such bad shape that we can't really host tournaments," Morrison said.

Hindering the chances of hosting tournaments in their own hometown.    

"We don't really have the capabilities to host enough teams to have a tournament. If we build the facilities here, we're going to be able to be able to host district and state tournaments possibly," Morrison said.

The facility serves more than 200 athletes, ages 4- to 14, who play baseball or softball.

"Our softball girls, for example, play in a league, where they have to 30 miles to Early every two, three days a week," he said. "Currently, one of our teams is going to state next week in Jacksonville, Texas and that's something that, if we can host that tournament here, they wouldn't have to travel across the state to do."

The current Coleman County Youth Sports Complex sits on the intersection of Ripley and Mountain Street. The new facility will be built directly across the Bill Franklin Center, on 5th Avenue, sitting at about 20 acres of privately-owned land.

"It will be better because we won't have to travel as far away from our town," Addison Morrison said.

For athletes like 9-year-old Addison, who plays softball at the facility, the promise of new grounds and fences are home runs in her book.

"The old facility is like, the balls, whenever you're on the ground, if the catcher misses it, it goes out of the fence because we have holes at the bottom of the fences from a long time ago when people threw so hard at the fences, that it went through the fence. So, now when the catches misses them, it's hard because we'll run out of balls and then we have to wait a while, for someone to come around to give us the ball that we've thrown out.," Addison said.

The community's support has been nothing shy of overwhelming.

"We had a fundraiser a couple of weeks ago and in one night, we raised almost right at, almost $200,000. I mean, all of the people in this community know the need of trying to get the sports complex built," he said.

The goal is about one million dollars.

"We're going to keep pushing forward until we raise the money so we can get this facility built for the kids."

The association is working on two softball fields, a pair of baseball fields, concessions, restrooms and paved parking. The new facility will take up about half of the privately-owned 20 acres, leaving plenty of room for additions, like a football field.    

Because the field is on privately-owned land, it is completely a community effort and won't be taxed to Coleman residents.

"It is not being built by the city or the county. So, it's not going to be tax money kind of forced down everybody's throat. What it's going to be is the people of Coleman stepping up to have better facilities," Morrison said.

If you would like to help with the costs of the new facility, click here.

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