Lewes Little League officials are seeking the community's help in raising funds for a major renovation project at the league's Pilottown Road facility.
President Mike Ciabottini said the goal is to raise $200,000 by this fall to renovate the field house/ concession stand and replace the 25-year-old lights on the main baseball field.
The field house/ concession stand is nearly unusable, he said. Years of leaks and unsuccessful repairs to the roof forced officials to close the second floor.
“Over the years of hard use and a few winter storms, our facilities have become damaged and in need of significant repairs,” he said at the Lewes City Council meeting May 19. “Our vision is to remodel the current structure to better suit our needs, provide a safe environment for all the families that are there and the visitors of Lewes.”
Ciabottini announced at the season's opening ceremonies in April that the Schell Brothers donated $10,000 toward the project. To raise the rest of the money, league officials are offering engraved bricks for donations of $100 or more. The bricks will be displayed in a place of prominence, Ciabottini said.
Ciabottini said the goal is not to just replace or renovate the structure, but to enhance it and make it more aesthetically pleasing.
“We've done such a nice job as a community with Canalfront Park. Now it's our turn to do that on the north side,” he said.
The goal, he said, is to incorporate similar design features in the neighboring park to create a seamless flow throughout the whole area.
With upgraded lights, Ciabottini said, the number of telephone poles will be reduced from eight to four, and as part of the project, electric wiring will be placed underground. A few more parking spaces may be gained as a result.
League officials hope to kick off construction in October to coincide with the Lewes Historical Society transportation enhancement project planned for the same time in the same area. The historical society, the city and Delaware Department of Transportation are working together on an estimated $425,000 project that will connect the historical society's main campus to its life-saving station boathouse at the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
The Little League complex upgrades are expected to be completed in time for next April's opening day festivities. Ciabottini said 325 children are participating in baseball and softball this season, making up 35 different teams. Lewes Little League is the largest and oldest youth organization in Lewes, operating for 56 years for boys and girls 4 to 12 years old. For more information on donating to the Little League fundraising campaign, go to www.leweslittleleague.com.