Project EverGreen and SFMA create a real ballfield for charity

Project EverGreen, the Sports Turf Managers Association (SFMA), the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, local businesses and residents teamed up January 21 at the half-a-century old Lindo Park in South Phoenix to give the 22-acre park something the community has always wanted: a real ball field.

Volunteers including sports field managers, lawn care professionals, landscape contractors, groundskeepers and neighborhood youth assisted with the transformation that had an estimated value in excess of $50,000. The project included:

  • Surveying the field to determine existing and proposed elevations for the playing surface.
  • Laying out new grass edges along 1st and 3rd base lines.
  • Re-inspecting and adjusting the irrigation system to insure proper coverage in the outfield.
  • Fertilizing and silting seed for the outfield turf – nearly 60,000-square-feet.
  • Laying out and rebuilding the pitcher’s mound and installing a new pitching rubber.
  • Laying out and rebuilding the batter’s boxes/catcher’s box and installing a new home plate.
  • Grading the infield surface to cut high areas and fill low areas.
  • Installing sod to repair areas of damaged turf.

“Neighborhoods deserve a healthy park or community green space that they can call their own,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Thriving parks create a community hub for neighbors – young and old – to connect and helps to instill pride in their community and confidence in area residents, and creates a place for adults and youth to exercise and have fun.”

SFMA supported the renovation project by having more than 100 professional sport turf managers on site.

“We were thrilled to be a part of this important project and bring a well-managed and playable ballpark to a deserving community,” says Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of the SFMA. “To use our professional expertise and know-how and bring a plan like this to life is a win-win for everyone.”

Project EverGreen has renovated more than 32 community parks across the country since 2006. In January of 2018, the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and community leader Muriel Smith nominated the park for a new ballfield.

“This is an exciting project for the community,” said Councilwoman Felicita Mendoza, who represents District 8 in which the park is located. “We’re grateful that Lindo Park was selected by Project EverGreen and for the volunteer service and financial support of SFMA and local businesses to make it possible. The new ballpark will enhance the recreation center and other amenity upgrades made to the park in recent years. “

Smith, 72, has lived in the community surrounding Lindo Park for four decades. She has raised three children, 13 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren; many of whom grew up playing in Lindo Park.

Over the years, Smith worked with the city of Phoenix Neighborhood Services and Parks and Recreation departments, Phoenix Police Department, former District 8 Councilwoman Kate Gallego and District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski. They worked with local high schools and hosted graffiti cleanups on the weekends, and things turned around and the park became a place to gather again.

Since then, a recreation center named after Smith was built in Lindo Park in 2016 along with a large ramada with picnic tables for gatherings outside and a new playground. Now, neighborhood groups hold meetings, host tree plantings, put on special events and kids read and study there.

“This ballpark will be the icing on the cake for the kids in this community,” said Smith.

A city parks and recreation department and/or a community group can nominate a park for revitalization. Once selected, Project EverGreen works with local businesses, community groups and volunteers to transform and sustain community green spaces.