Friday, June 25, 2004

Coach to be honored with field rededication


Late Red Bartlett touched many

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

[photo]
Mike Yeary of Prus Construction uses a pressure washer to clean bench seating for fans at Bartlett Field in Newport. The field has undergone $1.9 million in improvements.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/PATRICK REDDY
NEWPORT - During his 50 years involved in Knothole youth baseball, it's been estimated that the late coach Red Bartlett touched the lives of thousands of Campbell County kids.

The city of Newport will say thanks tonight, when it rededicates a baseball field named for Bartlett that has gone through a major restoration.

"Red is an absolute legend in youth sports in this area," said Newport City Manager Phil Ciafardini. "He really dedicated his life to it. I think he would have liked what we've done with the field."

The rededication ceremony of Bartlett Field is set for 6 p.m. Members of Bartlett's family have been invited to attend, and many of his former players are expected to be there as well, Ciafardini said.

The ceremony will be followed by a tee-ball game between America Legion and St. Therese.

The field has been totally refurbished and improved with the installation of bluegrass sod, a new outfield fence, an electronic scoreboard and an underground irrigation system. The $1.9 million project also included major improvements to two adjacent fields at Veterans Memorial Park.

Knothole and high school softball teams will share time on the fields with the tee-ballers, Ciafardini said.

The city paid for the project by leveraging money it received from the sale of the city's waterworks and from the increased tax revenue it generated by riverfront and other development projects.

"When you start looking at the basics of providing public services, recreation and parks always seem to be at the bottom of the list behind police, fire, public works and other services cities have to provide," Ciafardini said.

"It's nice to be able to provide good-quality parks and recreation opportunities for youth of all ages in the community," he said.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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