City to Implement League Park Renovation Project

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CLEVELAND, Ohio— League Park is the old home of the Cleveland Indians.

Old, as in 1891, when the Indians were still called the Cleveland Spiders.

Home to legendary pitcher Cy Young and to Babe Ruth’s 500th career homer, the park is a historic goldmine.

“This particular park represents one of the greatest treasures that the city has,” said Paula Gist, head of the League Park Heritage Committee.

But the old baseball diamond has been a diamond in the rough, literally.

The East 66th and Lexington park is rich in history, but poor in upkeep.

After two decades of planning, the city is ready to implement a $5 million renovation project.

“The key step was early in Mayor Jackson’s administration back in year 2007 when he worked with then councilwoman Fannie Lewis and they worked out a two year funding program that gave us the five million dollars that we now have,” said Ken Silliman, Mayor Jackson’s chief of staff.

Former councilwoman Fannie Lewis envisioned League Park as a way to restore life in the Hough neighborhood and she fought for its revival until she passed away in 2008.

“This has been a labor of love for the people of Hough for 25 years,” said Gist. “It’s been a lot of stops and starts but we started in 2009. The councilman wanted a group of community residents to help decide what was going to happen with this. So we formed a committee and we have been going strong for the last three years.”

The committee has helped the city decide to restore the old ticket house, the bleacher wall and the baseball diamond.

In order to make the park available to the community, the city will also build a museum and a field for football and soccer.