A pair of youth athletic programs in Northwest Corpus Christi will see some renovations and expansion to their existing facilities, work that will be funded by Nueces County taxpayers.
Precinct 1 Nueces County Commissioner Mike Pusley was on hand Saturday as a special guest for the Northwest Little Miss Kickball opening ceremonies for the league's new season.
During a speech to the players and the crowd gathered for the event, Pusley announced that the county was going to fund work at the Oil Belt Little League fields that will include the construction of a new field for Little Miss Kickball. That would bring the number of fields for the league to use up to four.
The county will also pay for renovations and the reconfiguration of the fields used by the Oil Belt Little League, Pusley said. The plans and specifications were still being worked on, Pusley said, but he estimated the cost to be between $150,000 to $200,000, though he acknowledged that the estimate was preliminary and may change once the plans are completed.
The money for the renovations and field addition will come from a variety of other county projects that have come in under budget, Pusley said.
"We were fortunate to come in under budget on some projects that we had and we've got some money left over in some other areas," Pusley said. "So, we're basically going to transfer that money over into an account so we can use it here on the fields and (reorganization)."
The addition of a new field will allow Little Miss Kickball to potentially host state-sanctioned tournaments, Pusley said, since they require at least four fields to be available for use.
Little Miss Kickball president Jimmy Sanders said the league has been working over the past 15 years with previous county commissioners to try to obtain a fourth field, but are thankful that Pusley has urged the county to move forward with the project.
"We've always needed a fourth field, and commissioners past have always said, 'We'll work on it,'" but (Pusley's) actually gone into making it happen," Sanders said. "We're excited about it."
Sanders said the league is the second-largest youth kickball league in the state, with over 430 girls registered in the program. The large number and small number of fields means games are often played at inopportune times for players and their families.
"With only having three fields and this many girls, we have to play on nights that we really don't want to," Sanders said. "We really don't like to play a whole lot on Saturdays, because families like to do things on the weekend, but this year we're going to have to do it.
"Maybe next year, when we get that fourth field, we'll have a little more flexibility on our scheduling, because we don't have that luxury right now."