The Fields Are Also Dreaming At PECHS Athletic Complex, And The Students, Too

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, September 27, 2012

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The Farmville Herald

The Town of Farmville is embracing an ambitious renovation project at the Field Of Dreams complex.

Full credit to the Town of Farmville and the leadership of Town Manager Gerald Spates and Town Council. Progress only comes by moving forward, seeing the future and doing what's necessary to shape the present to create those tomorrows.

The youngsters who play at the Field Of Dreams, naturally, will be most excited by the Town's plans to install artificial turf. But the motivation behind the upgrades and the expected results are anything but artificial.

The young people will receive the best facility the community can provide, which those youngsters totally deserve.

The community benefit will come in quantifiable ways-increased economic activity for businesses, especially during tournaments that pull people to Farmville from across the state. Tournaments at South Hill reportedly generated $1 million in spending in that community's retail stores, restaurants, motels and other businesses, and in a single tournament.

But there will also be those less easily measured benefits that are produced anytime something is done for the good of the children. They will clearly see how much the community values them and the sense of their own self-worth will be enhanced as a result. The opposite impact, unfortunately, is also possible when young impressionable minds see themselves surrounded by sub-par facilities, especially when they compare and consider what is provided for other children.

The Field Of Dreams will continue to be a place where so much of the community gathers, young and old, to enjoy sporting events that are fun to play and teach many valuable life lessons.

The young people of this community absolutely deserve the best that can be given to them.

At the Field Of Dreams, certainly.

But also absolutely at the athletic fields complex at Prince Edward County High School, which needs similar attention from the county's Board of Supervisors. The county is one of the few to use a combined baseball/football field, and has done so for years. The added wear and tear has turned the football field, also part of the outfield for baseball, into a piece of earth that doesn't encourage athletic excellence and is an ankle or knee injury waiting to happen. Those concrete stands aren't state-of-the-art, either. Not inviting. Not user-friendly.

Town officials opened the door to Prince Edward County to participate in the Field Of Dreams upgrade project but County officials invited to meet with Town Council in executive session apparently understand to whom their first loyalty and best efforts must be given-the children attending the public schools.

There is no way the Board of Supervisors could justify contributing to the Field Of Dreams renovation project while ignoring the even greater needs at their public schools' athletic facilities, with the high school's combo ball fields atop that list.

And it is difficult to imagine the Board of Supervisors trying to justify increasing the revenue stream-raising taxes-to do both.

In fact, they should not attempt to do so.

No, the County's main responsibility is to the needs of its public schools. The Board of Supervisors cannot honestly look its constituents in the eye and provide funding for the Field Of Dreams when dreams in its county classrooms and athletic fields require greater funding attention.

We hope County officials embrace the same attitude for those school needs as shown by the Town of Farmville toward the Field Of Dreams.

The dreams youngsters pursue in the classrooms and on the athletic fields at the Prince Edward County public school complex are as real as you'll find anywhere in the whole wide world.

Let's help make them come true.