Remember the NC Connect Bond from March 2016? This statewide bond initiative included one-time funding of $3 million for parks and recreation grants to benefit children and/or veterans with disabilities for local park projects. On my visit to Massey Hill Park which sits on just over 15 acres in Fayetteville, I got to see a completed project just before the grand opening was held on April 14th. With $250,000 in funding from the bond was used to update the baseball field behind the community center with a rubberized surface. In past years, parks and recreation staff used temporary rubber mats that stretched along the base paths to accommodate play for their Buddy Baseball program.
In addition to funds from the NC Connect Bond, the citizens of Fayetteville passed a $35 million dollar bond referendum in March of 2016 to support this effort and the city received a $40,000 grant from the MLB’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund. This summer, the Buddy Baseball program will be enjoying a newly universally accessible installed field made entirely of a flat, rubberized surface, as well as upgrades to the fencing, dugouts and access paths leading to the field.
After my visit, I had a chance to talk to Parks & Recreation Director Michael Gibson and he told me how the outfield fence had been extended to 125 feet versus the standard 110-115 feet. This additional space in the outfield has created an additional mini field to be used for playing other sports like soccer, kickball, and hockey. I loved how adding a little extra in the outfield will allow for programming after the baseball season is over. The Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department works with the two VA hospitals in the area to provide programs through the Wounded Warrior program to provide programs for adults.
The other new feature at the park includes an accessible splash pad and playground. I see the park getting a great use following games on the field and by citizens in the community and students at the school next door. After having a little fun taking selfies at the splash pad, I explored the grounds of the center and found a unique display of hanging 2-liter bottles that had been converted to planters.
From the online articles, pictures, and videos I’ve discovered following the grand opening of this facility, it is one that will be loved and enjoyed for years to come while providing programs for kids and adults! For more information on the Massey Hill Park visit https://fcpr.us/facilities/recreation-centers/massey-hill