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Federal Way National LL sees the light
It’s Federal Way National Little League’s field of dreams.
In a joint effort that involved the City of Federal Way, State of Washington and a King County Sports Grant, Federal Way National Little League secured $200,000 to make improvements at it’s privately-owned fields. The city matched the $75,000 donated by a King County Youth Sports Fund Grant and the state donated $50,000 to the little league.
“It is just an amazing feat,” said Scot Henderson, the fundraising coordinator for Federal Way National Little League. “
The biggest of those improvements from the $200,000 was the installation of lights on it’s premier Little League field at the Federal Way National four-field complex, which borders SW Campus Drive, near the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
The pricetag for installing lights on one field is nearly $100,000 and Federal Way National is looking to light one or more of the remaining three fields at its complex in the future.
But, for now, the rest of the grant money is going toward construction of batting and pitching cages, replacing the backstops on two of the fields and installation of new bleachers. The little league also completed work on the field house, which sits in the middle of the four fields and includes bathrooms and a concession stand.
“After many years of back-breaking labor, work parties and endless hours riding a broken down, old, donated tractor/lawnmower the league is finally seeing the state, county and city acknowledge their value to the community,” said Henderson.
Federal Way National celebrated the official field lighting on Sept. 20 with a Wiffle ball game, pizza, pop and ice cream.
Federal Way National is quite unique in the Little League World in that it is one of very few organizations of its kind that owns and operates its own fields. Federal Way American and Steel Lake little leagues play all their games on school district and King County-owned fields.
“This may not sound like a big deal but it truly is an amazing accomplishment,” Henderson said. “There is a reason why so few do it, it’s expensive to run a league and maintain the facilities. (We) do not garner one single dime of public funds or tax revenue and therefore have had to maintain the fields through pure volunteerism.”
The lights will allow the Little League to play more games during the summer and also host money-making tournaments on their fields.
“We now have the ability to create a recurring revenue stream,” Henderson said. “We have created a ground swell.”
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org