The Astros Foundation has committed to assisting the Kingwood/Forest Cove Baseball Association in renovating fields damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
The association operates 15 baseball fields in Forest Cove and in Deer Ridge Park.
All seven fields in Forest Cove were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey and the eight fields in Deer Ridge Park sustained heavy damage.
Early estimates for the restoration project are near $1 million.
Twila Carter, executive director of the foundation, said dumpsters are in the parks and that clean up began Monday, Nov. 20, with an expected completion date of March 24, opening day for the Kingwood/Forest Cove Baseball Association spring baseball season.
“The Astros Foundation supports youth baseball and softball throughout the Houston area,” Carter said. “We have committed $4 million in recovery efforts. The fields in Forest Cove had 20-30 feet of water in them. There were fish carcasses in the backstop which is 25 feet up.
“The bleachers, fences, the scoreboards, batting cages – everything was destroyed,” she said.
Between 700-800 kids play in the league each year and thousands of families had homes damaged or destroyed by the hurricane; a fact, Carter says, that often means families don’t prioritize paying sports registration fees, which range up to $250 per player. The Foundation support includes provisions to reduce registration fees this spring.
"Knowing the great work that the Astros Foundation does around the Houston area we were very excited when Twila contacted us to arrange a visit to the Forest Cove fields. We are grateful for all they are doing for our community and look forward to this partnership with the Astros," said Mike Jeffery, president of the Kingwood/Forest Cove Baseball Association.
Carter, a Kingwood resident, says this is personally satisfying. It is not often, she said, that she gets to offer assistance to Kingwood.
“ This is my home and my community. The amount of loss was overwhelming to the league. They might have $15-$20,000 left at the each of the average year but that goes to maintaining those fields. No way could they have recovered,” she said.
Carter said the project is a ‘big deal’ to the Foundation.
“We are helping support the league. We are offering a partnership to work with the league to restore the program in the community.
“We are not just doing this and saying ‘See ya later,’” Carter said. In fact, The Astros Foundation was notified just last week they had won the 2017 Selig award for philanthropy.
Major League Baseball announced last week that the World Series Champion Houston Astros received the 2017 Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence. The Club is being recognized for its “Houston Astros Community Leaders Program,” which since 2013 has positively affected more than 30,000 children throughout the Greater Houston area through baseball and softball programming, education-based initiatives and volunteer opportunities.
“This is a great opportunity for the Foundation. We exist to support sports programs in the Houston area. The bigger picture is what sports does for kids – gives them something positive to do, keeps them out of trouble, teaches life skills and gives them a strong identity. The Foundation is committed to helping wherever and however we can,” she said.