JACKSONVILLE, IL-- During the summer of 2007 Jacksonville youth hade an unique opportunity to play baseball and softball on one of the finest facilities in the midwest, thanks to Tom Lenz, president of Lenz Sales & Dist., Inc. in Jacksonville. Construction was finished on June 2, 2007 on a new youth baseball and softball field on West Walnut.
Lenz, former baseball coach at MacMurray College, is harvesting 150 walnut trees from a farm he owns in Chandlerville to finance the project. He views it as his opportunity to to give something back to the youth in Jacksonville. “I am building it because I have children, because I want to be involved in the community, because I want to make something that draws people,” said Lenz. “I want people to say ‘We’ve got to play there. That’s the nicest facility in the state of Illinois.’”
What is being built is not your ordinary youth baseball park. The field will be entirely covered in Players Turf making it virtually rain out proof and allowing for a variety of different levels of play. It will also be lighted by Musco lighting, and feature two turfed batting cages. A 20 foot scoreboard will also be installed along with concrete dugouts, a concession stand, and a sound system. Fans will be able to watch the games from a 27 foot section of bleachers down the first base line or a grass hill in left field.
Lenz hopes the field will be a cornerstone for youth athletics in the Jacksonville area and be something to be remembered by. “Me and my wife, Kim, are fortunate enough to have some resources to do something like this,” Lenz said. “People all the time leave their legacies on communities, and hopefully this will be mine.”