An anonymous donor has given $10,000 to help fund the restoration of Covington’s Baltzer Field, parks and recreation director Joe Mack said.
The project is one many in the community are excited to see.
The ballfield, located in Cobb Parr Park, was named for Covington’s former Coca-Cola Bottling Company owner and operator L.O. Baltzer.
Tipton County Genealogist David Gwinn said the Baltzer family, which operated the business for six decades, supported youth sports.
“Baltzer supported local baseball and baseball teams throughout this county by purchasing baseball and football uniforms, equipment, etc. as well as providing sound trucks for the games,” he said. “The baseball field was constructed in the early 1960s by the Covington Jaycees with the help of local contractors like Clyde W. Owen Sand and Gravel.”
The field was used for generations by Byars-Hall High School and later by Covington High School as their home field.
The field is not used very often anymore and badly needs renovation. Its iconic sign and scoreboard have rusted and faded, becoming nostalgic artifacts for Baby Boomers, GenXers and elder Millennials who once played on the fields.
Mack wants to bring the field back to the community.
“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to repair those dugouts, (leaking) roofs … obviously the Coca-Cola sign needs to be replaced or restored,” Mack said during a Feb. 9 committee meeting.
Mack said he has been discussing the project with the local Coca-Cola representative about assisting in the restoration. He’s also hoping to repair several of the lights on the field for safety reasons and replace both the outdated, broken scoreboard and the backstop fencing with netting.
Mack also wants to add netting around the batting cage and, long-term, remove the infield lip.
Community members have also discussed adding clay to the infield as well.
Donations are being accepting through the Covington Parks Foundation, a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to aide the parks and recreation department.
The project will also be partially funded through the sales tax revenue, which has increased over what was expected during the pandemic.