Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

September 2010

Groundbreaking Kicks Off Softball Field Construction in Langston


Softball Field Groundbreaking
Left to right: Jerry Hyden, field office director for HUD; Linda Tillman, director for HUD/HBCU grant at Langston University; Dr. JoAnn W.Haysbert, LU president; and Blayne Hinds, mayor for town of Langston City, break ground on new softball field.

A successful collaborative effort between Langston University and the town of Langston City resulted in the recent groundbreaking of a new regulation softball field at T.G. Green Park.
Several community members attended the celebration, including Langston University administrators, staff, coaches and students; Langston City officials and residents; county government officials; and representatives of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Langston University President JoAnn W. Haysbert said the groundbreaking was a continuance of the partnership between the university and the town of Langston in building a college town. She said it would soon be a great place for everyone in the area to enjoy.

“You’re going to find our own Bricktown right here in the city of Langston,” Haysbert said. “You will find that everyone will be spending their time in this park.”
Construction of the softball field at T.G. Green Park is expected to be completed by late February or early March 2011, and the construction of a pavilion next to the field is expected to be finished by May 2011. The construction projects have yet to be put out for bid but the process is expected to begin soon to ensure next year’s completion schedule.

Langston Mayor Blayne E. Hinds joined Haysbert in praising HUD, the university, and the city for coming together on a project that will be beneficial to everyone involved.
“This is one that is going to be an historic partnership for everyone,” Hinds said.

The field and pavilion construction are being funded primarily through the Community Partnership and Revitalization Initiative as part of an $800,000 HBCU grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Langston University and the town of Langston also contributed to the project, including an $8,000 match from the community.

Jerry Hyden, field office director for HUD, said Langston had always shown an ability above and beyond other recipients to spend the money in ways that provided the strongest benefit to the university and the community. He congratulated school and city officials for stepping up to the plate and hitting a home run with this project.

“Every time we come to Langston, it gets bigger and it gets better,” Hyden said.

The purpose of the HBCU program grant is to assist HBCUs in expanding their role and effectiveness in addressing community development needs in their locations. The activity for the revitalization of the T.G. Green Park is defined as an eligible public service activity, which can help stabilize a neighborhood and contribute to sustainable redevelopment such as recreational needs.
Wayne Murphey, Logan County District 2 deputy commissioner, said the hard work of those involved was obvious when projects such as this one came together. He said while many would be willing to just adjust the compass, university and community officials were willing to actually turn the ship in the right direction.

“I have seen some of the things that have been accomplished in this town and they should be applauded,” Murphey said.

Among those featured at the groundbreaking and celebration were: Mary Green, a former trustee for the town of Langston and the widow of the park’s namesake; HUD/HBCU Program project director Linda Tillman; and the Rev. Everett Mack of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

The Langston softball team currently plays home softball games at Coyle. Bleachers will be placed at the field, and it is expected to seat an estimated 150 people.

The team is expected to play the four home games on the fall schedule in Coyle, but second-year coach Maura Hobbs said she looked forward to playing some home games at the new field in 2011. The fall season begins in late September and the spring season starts in late February.

The money was awarded last November to not only build a softball field but also was used to expand the capacity of the Business Resource and Incubator Center in the Langston Retail Plaza.

Other projects from the grant include housing and foreclosure seminars in Oklahoma City, funding job placement and counseling programs in targeted areas, and working with faith-based organizations and grassroots organizations to promote neighborhood associations and gardens in the Empowerment Zone of Oklahoma City.

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