County Raising Money for Ball Park Lights

Reporter: Sally Delta

Appomattox Co., VA - The Dixie Youth League in Appomattox County has had to reschedule some of their games lately because their main field doesn't have lights.

Officials say 250 children play on the ball fields at Appomattox Community Park. The park was paid for entirely with individual donations or grant money. Since there's nowhere to pull the funds from, the lights will just have to wait.

Lee Scruggs coaches Dixie Youth baseball. Two of his kids play and practice at the Appomattox Community park just off Police Tower Road. He says they'll start the games as early as possible, but sometimes you just can't fight the moonlight.

"If you have games that last between 8 & 8:30 it starts getting too dark, and it becomes a safety issue with someone getting hit by a ball or pitch," said Lee Scruggs.

His 8-year-old son Conner plays first and says he's had some close calls.

He threw the ball to me and it was really hard to see it," said Conner Scruggs.

To finish, they end up having to reschedule the game even if it was almost over.

"There have been several times we've had to go back and play one inning so you're having to travel all the way back for one inning and it also takes momentum out of the game, because you won't play the same one day as you were the first game you were playing," said Lee Scruggs.

Since Appomattox County's Director of Park and Recreation became aware of the problem, she's been busy raising money.

"We've sent out letters to all of the churches and businesses in Appomattox, and they have been responding back in the last two or three weeks and we've been receiving checks in the mail daily," said Anne Dixon.

They've raised about $13,000 so far. But to light just two of their six fields, it will cost a little more than $100,000.

"It's going to be four poles on each field here, a total of 28 lights," said James Cheatham, project manager.

Scruggs just hopes the lights come in time for his boys to experience them.

Having lights and playing at night is a whole new experience for the kids, and to play under the lights is really unique and it's something we really need," said Lee Scruggs.

Dixon says there's no official deadline to raise the funds. She says the lights will go up as soon as they can raise the money.

Adding lights will also allow the park to host tournaments. Currently the teams have to travel to compete in a tournament.

The park also has tee-ball, softball and soccer fields. A pavilion and Frisbee golf course.

If you'd like to help, please visit the park or call Anne Dixon at the Appomattox County Recreation Department for a tour of the park at 434-352-5996 or contact James Cheatham with the Spout Spring Ruritan Club at 434-944-2587 or 434-352-7252.