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Hooker Field to receive major upgrades thanks to Harvest grant


LEFT TO RIGHT: DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation, Dean Hennis, MCRA member, Treasurer and Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki, and Barron Frith, MCRA president

MARTINSVILLE – The Martinsville Community Recreation Association will undertake a significant project to renovate and upgrade Hooker Field in Martinsville with support from The Harvest Foundation.


Funding of $407,770 over three years will be provided to the association with half of that amount, $203,885, available in the form of a program-related investment which will be paid back to the foundation over time.


The grant represents 20 percent of the total capital project supported by MCRA, Patrick Henry Community College, Barry Nelson and Nelson Automotive Group, the City of Martinsville and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.  


“This is a great opportunity to partner with local organizations to improve amenities in Martinsville and Henry County,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “Improving the facilities at Hooker Field gives our community an edge when it comes to recruiting big tournaments to the area. Large events like that have the potential to grow local revenues from lodging, shopping and meals tax. The Martinsville Community Recreation Association has built strong partnerships throughout the years that make Hooker Field an important asset for our area.” 


Planned renovations include new construction for bathroom facilities and a concession stand to keep the field in good working order to potentially attract new fans and new events.


PHCC, Barry Nelson of Nelson Automotive Group and the City of Martinsville are among several community partners that have supported numerous improvements to the facility including upgraded dugouts, a new scoreboard, and an updated artificial turf field to improve the spectator experience.


Barron Frith, president of the recreation association, said he is pleased for the opportunity to partner with The Harvest Foundation to upgrade facilities at Hooker Field.


“Hooker Field has served as the primary baseball facility for this community for many years, and getting an opportunity to now upgrade the concession and restroom facilities is wonderful,” said Frith. “A lot of work has been done on the playing field and to be able to now focus on projects to make the spectator experience more enjoyable is important. Hooker Field is a true community facility and the planned upgrades will provide a much-needed facelift for this historic ballpark.”


Following the concession and restroom upgrade projects, Frith said he hopes the recreation association can begin to explore adding covered seating to Hooker Field.


According to the grant application, MCRA aims to award contracts in early 2020 with a grand opening event at the ballpark in the summer.

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