Project EverGreen and SFMA renovate the baseball field at Mother Mathilda Beasley Park

Project EverGreen, members of the Sports Field Management Association (SFMA), the Chatham County Parks & Recreation Department and local businesses teamed up on Monday, January 17, at Mother Mathilda Beasley Park in Savannah, Ga., to give the park’s baseball field a $50,000 makeover.

The goal of the field renovation project was to leave the county with a greener, healthier park using the professional skills and knowledge of sports field professionals from across the country. The historic park received the makeover in conjunction with the SFMA annual conference.

Project EverGreen works with under resourced communities to renovate, maintain and make more accessible healthy playing fields, parks and public green spaces. Together with financial and in-kind contributions and support from professional volunteers, park renovations not only create a healthy, safe green space, but establish healthy community hubs that promote future improvements in and around the park.

“Neighborhoods deserve healthy parks or community green spaces they can call their own,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “And while a single group or individual cannot transform an entire park, Project EverGreen builds coalitions of businesses and individuals to make it happen. Thriving parks help to build community pride and confidence in residents and create spaces to safely exercise and enjoy the great outdoors.”

The park, managed by Chatham County, is named after Mother Beasley, the first African American nun in the state of Georgia. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 14, 1832 and founded the St. Francis Home for Colored Orphans which opened in 1887. Beasley educated slaves in her home in Savannah, before the Civil War, which was illegal at that time.

The field’s playing surface receives heavy usage and needed a renovation to guarantee it would remain a safe, sustainable part of the Savannah community.

The makeover included:

  • Leveling and refurbishing of the existing baseball infield.
  • Laying of new sod edges along the infield after weeds and excess grass were removed.
  • Removing buildup of infield mix from the front of the backstop, player benches and infield.
  • Grading the existing infield to cut high areas and fill low areas.
  • Installing 25 tons of new infield mix.
  • Grading the infield to meet the grass edges and to ensure efficient surface drainage.
  • Top dressing the infield with 40 bags of infield conditioner.
  • Layout and rebuilding of the pitcher’s mound and batter’s boxes/catcher’s box and installation of a new home plate and pitching rubber.
  • Power washing the aluminum player benches, bleachers and concrete pad.
  • Repairing the fencing surrounding the field and on the backstop.

SFMA supported the renovation project by asking its members – professional sport field managers — to assist with the planning and hands-on renovation work.

“We are thrilled to once again be a part of this important project and bring a well-managed and playable ballpark to a deserving community,” said 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.”

Chatham County Director of Parks and Recreation Steve Proper said the renovation project is a wonderful opportunity for the county, Mother Mathilda Beasley Park and neighborhood families to get a little TLC for the baseball field and multipurpose outfield.

“Our staff had a wonderful opportunity to work alongside these highly experienced sports turf maintenance professionals, and their sharing of knowledge and tricks of the trade is immeasurable,” added Proper.

Project donors include: Anuvia Plant Nutrients, Barenbrug USA, Bulk Aggregate Supply, Bulldog Field Equipment, John Deere, Modern Turf, Mountain View Seeds, NDS, Pioneer Athletics, Plant Nutrient Group, St. John’s Turf Care, Sports Field Solutions, SiteOne, Toro and Turface.