Lead Story Northeast Edition Sports

Dodgers, others build new ballfields at Belvedere Park

EAST LOS ANGELES — Two renovated baseball fields were dedicated June 18 at Belvedere Park here, financed by a combination of funding from government, corporate and philanthropic sources.

Improvements to the fields include a new turf infield, new bullpen area and new foul poles. Renovations included the replacement of chain-link fencing on the backstops and dugouts, new metal dugout roofs, new side fencing and new outfield fencing with yellow top caps for both fields.

The playing fields have also been pulverized and laser graded for a smooth surface. New irrigation and new sports-turf sod were installed. New LED solar scoreboards with signage resembling those at Dodger Stadium were installed.

Dodger rookie pitcher Julio Urias watches the throwing form of a youngster June 18 at the dedication of new baseball fields at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)
Dodger rookie pitcher Julio Urias watches the throwing form of a youngster June 18 at the dedication of new baseball fields at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodger pitchers J.P. Howell and Julio Urias and former Dodgers Billy Ashley, Lee Lacy, Tim Leary and Derrel Thomas conducted a baseball clinic following the dedication for more than 400 players from the Dodgers Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program at Belvedere Park.

Funding for the improvements came from the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the LA84 Foundation, the athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories maker Nike, the insurance company Security Benefit and the office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose First District includes East Los Angeles.

The fields are the 43rd and 44th to be renovated or built under the Dodgers Dreamfields program, which began in 2003 when the team was owned by the Fox Group. It continued when Frank McCourt owned the team from 2004-2012 and under the current ownership.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has committed to build 50 fields in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles County, according to Nichol Whiteman, the foundation’s executive director.

“In East Los Angeles baseball is not only a sport, it’s a tradition,” said John Wicker, director of the county Parks and Recreation Department. “Providing recreational opportunities to continue great traditions is at the heart of our mission, and we are so grateful to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation for this partnership and their commitment to young people in our communities.”

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to the L.A. Dodgers Foundation for its investment in these new Dreamfields,”  Solis said. “The fields at Belvedere Park provide much-needed outdoor recreational space for residents in East Los Angeles. I look forward to collaborating with the foundation as it continues to create fun and safe environments throughout my district.”

“Lack of playing space is a serious problem for youth sports everywhere, but especially in low-income communities,” said Renata Simril, president and CEO of the LA84 Foundation, which manages Southern California’s share of the surplus from the 1984 Summer Olympics and supports a wide array of youth sports programming.

“Children from all backgrounds should have safe, high quality fields of play.”

Blanca Gonzalez, vice president and general manager for Nike West, also spoke.

“Situated minutes away from the Nike East Los Community Store and at the heart of East Los Angeles, the new Dodgers Dreamfield gives us another platform to truly engage with and give back to families and youth through sport,” Gonzalez said. “Together with our partner, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, we continue to serve an important community in the city.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the team’s official charity, supports programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy, health and wellness benefiting children and families throughout the Los Angeles area.

The foundation’s programs are funded through private donations and various fundraising events. Team finances are not used.