Driving past Sullivan Park the past few years, identifying the Little League that calls it home wasn’t easy. It is now thanks to some volunteers and a donation.
FNCB Bank made a donation for a new sign to be installed over the winter and be ready for the 2016 Pittston City Little League season. Pittston Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee volunteer Brian Matyjevich reached out to FNCB bank Marketing Specialist Mike Cumming to help get things started. In turn, FNCB bank donated funds for the entire project.
“The new sign is an industry-leading aluminum composite with a plastic core for years of use provided by a local sign manufacturer,” Matyjevich said.
The Pittston City Little League will begin its 65th season this year. Part of the park has been named after James “Gyp” Padden who lived on Stark Street in Pittston. Padden was an active volunteer and worked on the Little League field for many years. Padden passed away in 1998 and the sign carries his name.
Fielding even more help
Over the past several years, the condition of Sullivan Park and the Little League field has slowly deteriorated. Thanks to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Adopt-A-Field Program, the field was given a facelift in May 2015.
Now, thanks to the Pittston City Redevelopment Authority’s Parks to Prosperity program, the parks in the area will get a reconfiguration. It all starts with the Pittston City Little League and Sullivan Park.
“We met with the Little League and asked them to give us a list of what really needs to be done, then really wishful things,” Redevelopment Authority member Mike Lombardo said. “A reconfiguration of the entire park system is underway and the Little league is part of this.”
The project will cost around $400,000, which will be paid for by a C2P2 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Redevelopment Authority. The park will feature a new playground with swings, a walking trail with lights and a second basketball court. A security system with timed lighting and new fences will also be installed. There will be a main entrance to the park, which will have a curved archway of steel and brick with picnic tables and benches throughout the area.
“This could not happen without the input from all the volunteers throughout the city from soccer, football or baseball organizations including all the feedback of the residents,” Lombardo said.
The city will also have to purchase a track of vacant land to construct a double bay garage. Lombardo said that process will begin once the Little League season is over. Pittston City Council will discuss the project more at a meeting on Monday, April 11.
With the season just around the corner, and a mild March, volunteers have already began the cleanup process of the field at Sullivan Park. Volunteers have been working to get the infield ready for play, which begins this month.
“The Little League runs on volunteers and having as much help as possible is greatly appreciated,” Pittston City Little League President Jeff Ross said.
The Opening Day Ceremonies of the Pittston City Little League will be on Saturday, April 16. After teams, coaches and parents meet at the Pittston Tomato Festival lot at 9:50 a.m., a parade will proceed down Main Street, up Mill Street, down Church Street and into Sullivan Park. The ceremonies start after the parade with a scrimmage game to follow. The concession stand will be open to purchase food and baked goods.
Jenkins Township Little League will enter its 60th year once the season starts this spring. Opening day for the Little League will be on Saturday, April 23 with a full slate of games. Past presidents of the league will be present and will be awarded a patch to celebrate 60 years. On Sunday, April 24, the league will host its Pitch, Hit, Run Championships at 1 p.m. Also at 1 p.m. will be team pictures.
On Saturday, April 30, the Pittston Township Little League will host its baseball Opening Ceremonies at 11 a.m. and renaming its facility after former Pittston Township Supervisor the late Joseph “Murph” Adams. The softball Opening Ceremonies will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 17.
The Wyoming/West Wyoming Little League will host its opening ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 17. The league will be playing in memory of the late Anne Gober, whose children played in the league for the past decade.
Duryea Little League will hold opening ceremonies on Saturday, April 23.
Opening ceremonies for the Exeter Lions Little League will be on Saturday, April 30.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick