SOLEDAD, Calif. - A field of dreams, now a reality.
The Jesse Gallardo Park in Soledad has been undergoing renovations for the past 10 months, and in planning stages for years, but is now officially open to the public.
Ernie Gallardo, son of Jesse, says it's a day his family has been waiting for, " I feel so proud, I mean from now on people will drive by and they’ll say who is that guy, who is Jesse Gallardo, that’s Mr. Baseball, that’s Soledad’s Mr. Baseball.”
Jesse coached baseball in Soledad for more than 40 years, Ernie says he hopes these fields bring area families as much joy as it brought his. "I can remember 60 years ago across the street playing in the old little league park how great it was to put on a uniform for the first time, and i’m sure the young youth out here are feeling the same way.”
While it came with a big league price tag, Vice Mayor Alejandro Chavez says it's well worth the investment, “we really believe that if we invest in our youth then we are able to make sure that they are able to move forward in a positive manner. We really think that investing in youth is the best way to handle public safety.”
Included in the renovation was two new softball fields. The Soledad softball league now has a place to call their own. "For ten years our girls and their families have been hiking up to the high school fields, hidden from view, and this is not where our girls in this community deserve to be, finally they can play here in the center of town where the entire community can see them, celebrate them and cheer them on,” says Frances Bengtson, Executive Director of the Soledad Mission Recreation District.
To find out more about what Soledad Mission Recreation District has to offer, or to get involved click here.