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7/7/2015 - Play ball!!: Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. celebrates newest ball fields for kids in Bridgeport

“We’re building new parks and new ball fields for our kids and families all across Bridgeport, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has been such an important partner in making that happen.  Senator Richard Blumenthal and I were honored to throw out the first pitch on opening day for the North End Little league at our newest fields at Blackham School. And it’s getting better every day.  Now, hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. is coming to Bridgeport to celebrate the opening -- and help teach our kids fundamentals on the baseball diamond.” – Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Conn. (July 7, 2015) – Major League Baseball hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. is coming to Bridgeport to celebrate the opening of the newest ball fields that his father’s foundation helped build – and help teach our kids the fundamentals of the sport that made him a role model for children across America.

On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Cal Ripken Jr. will join Mayor Bill Finch for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new community fields at the Blackham School Youth Development Park at 425 Thorme St. in Bridgeport, Conn.

“We’re building new parks and new ball fields for our kids and families all across Bridgeport, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has been such an important partner in making that happen,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Senator Richard Blumenthal and I were honored to throw out the first pitch on opening day for the North End Little league at these newest fields at Blackham School. And it’s getting better every day.  Now, hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. is coming to Bridgeport to celebrate the opening -- and help teach our kids fundamentals on the baseball diamond.”

The new fields at Blackham School include the same synthetic turf used in professional baseball stadiums as well as new dugouts, scoreboards and backstops.

The facility hosts three ball fields, including an all-inclusive field that will accommodate kids with special needs. Better drainage on the turf will translate to more time playing and less down time for kids.

“North End Little League has been the heart and soul of the North End community,” said City Council President Tom McCarthy, who  serves the 133rd District. “We’re excited to contribute to this organization that has meant so much to the kids of this neighborhood. But this is more than that. These fields are for everyone in the North End.”

Construction was ongoing throughout the winter. Jorge Garcia, the director of Public Facilities, said crews worked through sub-freezing temperatures and occasional frozen engine blocks and complete the project on scheduled. The park was ready for opening day.

Mayor Finch said Councilwomen Michelle Lyons and AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, who represent the 134th District, were instrumental in advocating for the project and seeing it through.

Under Mayor Finch’s administration, the city has renovated and created over 100 acres of parkland. Most recently, Mayor Finch opened Knowlton Park, a new waterfront park along the Pequonnock River which was once a blighted former factory site. Knowlton Park already has been enjoyed by thousands of kids and families in the city’s East End neighborhood.

And last year, Pleasure Beach re-opened for the first time in nearly two decades, and tens of thousands of kids and families have flocked to the beautiful, 71-acre barrier island, many for the first time.

A short, free ride on a  water taxi bring beach goers up at the fishing pier and then it’s a short walk to summer fun on the sandy beaches.

Along the way, people can soak in the views or step back in time and learn about Pleasure Beach’s history on the historic walking tour, which consists of 24 beautiful plaques that chronologically showcase the peninsula's history. 

Pleasure Beach has a storied history from serving as home to an amusement park built by Coney Island famed George C. Tilyou, to housing a baseball field owned by Hall of Famer James O’Rourke, to being visited by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, to holding concerts for famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra.

Bridgeport took ownership of Pleasure Beach in 1892. It served as home to a nationally acclaimed amusement park and ballroom for the first half of the 20th century. But fires and declining visitor numbers put the amusement park out of business in 1966.

The barrier island continued to go from periods of revival and decay until Father’s Day of 1996 when the bridge to Pleasure Beach set ablaze. The bridge was deemed unusable after the fire, and Pleasure Beach remained inaccessible. But last year Mayor Finch restored access to the barrier island after nearly two decades of neglect.

And the improvements continue. Currently. the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is executing a $2 million dollar investment in repairing breakwaters off the Pleasure Beach shoreline

Also, this year, Connecticut Post readers voted Seaside Park, which occupies 325 acres of beach, fields, and glades on the Long Island Sound in Bridgeport, as the best beach in southwestern Connecticut.

Mayor Finch has a goal of creating a park or playground within walking distance for every family in Bridgeport.

A park down the street helps kids healthy. It also helps property value as well, according to a study conducted by Fairfield University.

“In Bridgeport, we’re focused on making our city a place where companies want to invest and hire people, and a place where even more people choose to live, work, and raise their families,” said Mayor Finch. “Parks play a key role in doing just that. By re-opening Pleasure Beach, building a new Knowlton Park, and continuing to enhance places like Seaside Park, we’re improving the quality of life for our residents while increasing property values in our neighborhoods.”

The study concluded that city parks are economic incubators for the community. They not only promote public health and a healthy environment but also raise property values in neighborhoods.

Residential properties located within one tenth of a mile from a park in Bridgeport have, on average, an 8 percent higher property value than residential properties located within the next tenth from a park, the study shows. Commercial properties show an even greater gain in property value within the first tenth of a mile from a park, showing an 11 percent increase compared to properties in the second tenth of a mile from a park.

“We’re building new parks and new ball fields for our kids and families all across Bridgeport, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has been such an important partner in making that happen.  Senator Richard Blumenthal and I were honored to throw out the first pitch on opening day for the North End Little league at our newest fields at Blackham School. And it’s getting better every day.  Now, hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. is coming to Bridgeport to celebrate the opening -- and help teach our kids fundamentals on the baseball diamond.” – Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Conn. (July 7, 2015) – Major League Baseball hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. is coming to Bridgeport to celebrate the opening of the newest ball fields that his father’s foundation helped build – and help teach our kids the fundamentals of the sport that made him a role model for children across America.

On Thursday, July 9, 2015, Cal Ripken Jr. will join Mayor Bill Finch for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new community fields at the Blackham School Youth Development Park at 425 Thorme St. in Bridgeport, Conn.

“We’re building new parks and new ball fields for our kids and families all across Bridgeport, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has been such an important partner in making that happen,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Senator Richard Blumenthal and I were honored to throw out the first pitch on opening day for the North End Little league at these newest fields at Blackham School. And it’s getting better every day.  Now, hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. is coming to Bridgeport to celebrate the opening -- and help teach our kids fundamentals on the baseball diamond.”

The new fields at Blackham School include the same synthetic turf used in professional baseball stadiums as well as new dugouts, scoreboards and backstops.

The facility hosts three ball fields, including an all-inclusive field that will accommodate kids with special needs. Better drainage on the turf will translate to more time playing and less down time for kids.

“North End Little League has been the heart and soul of the North End community,” said City Council President Tom McCarthy, who  serves the 133rd District. “We’re excited to contribute to this organization that has meant so much to the kids of this neighborhood. But this is more than that. These fields are for everyone in the North End.”

Construction was ongoing throughout the winter. Jorge Garcia, the director of Public Facilities, said crews worked through sub-freezing temperatures and occasional frozen engine blocks and complete the project on scheduled. The park was ready for opening day.

Mayor Finch said Councilwomen Michelle Lyons and AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, who represent the 134th District, were instrumental in advocating for the project and seeing it through.

Under Mayor Finch’s administration, the city has renovated and created over 100 acres of parkland. Most recently, Mayor Finch opened Knowlton Park, a new waterfront park along the Pequonnock River which was once a blighted former factory site. Knowlton Park already has been enjoyed by thousands of kids and families in the city’s East End neighborhood.

And last year, Pleasure Beach re-opened for the first time in nearly two decades, and tens of thousands of kids and families have flocked to the beautiful, 71-acre barrier island, many for the first time.

A short, free ride on a  water taxi bring beach goers up at the fishing pier and then it’s a short walk to summer fun on the sandy beaches.

Along the way, people can soak in the views or step back in time and learn about Pleasure Beach’s history on the historic walking tour, which consists of 24 beautiful plaques that chronologically showcase the peninsula's history. 

Pleasure Beach has a storied history from serving as home to an amusement park built by Coney Island famed George C. Tilyou, to housing a baseball field owned by Hall of Famer James O’Rourke, to being visited by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, to holding concerts for famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra.

Bridgeport took ownership of Pleasure Beach in 1892. It served as home to a nationally acclaimed amusement park and ballroom for the first half of the 20th century. But fires and declining visitor numbers put the amusement park out of business in 1966.

The barrier island continued to go from periods of revival and decay until Father’s Day of 1996 when the bridge to Pleasure Beach set ablaze. The bridge was deemed unusable after the fire, and Pleasure Beach remained inaccessible. But last year Mayor Finch restored access to the barrier island after nearly two decades of neglect.

And the improvements continue. Currently. the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is executing a $2 million dollar investment in repairing breakwaters off the Pleasure Beach shoreline

Also, this year, Connecticut Post readers voted Seaside Park, which occupies 325 acres of beach, fields, and glades on the Long Island Sound in Bridgeport, as the best beach in southwestern Connecticut.

Mayor Finch has a goal of creating a park or playground within walking distance for every family in Bridgeport.

A park down the street helps kids healthy. It also helps property value as well, according to a study conducted by Fairfield University.

“In Bridgeport, we’re focused on making our city a place where companies want to invest and hire people, and a place where even more people choose to live, work, and raise their families,” said Mayor Finch. “Parks play a key role in doing just that. By re-opening Pleasure Beach, building a new Knowlton Park, and continuing to enhance places like Seaside Park, we’re improving the quality of life for our residents while increasing property values in our neighborhoods.”

The study concluded that city parks are economic incubators for the community. They not only promote public health and a healthy environment but also raise property values in neighborhoods.

Residential properties located within one tenth of a mile from a park in Bridgeport have, on average, an 8 percent higher property value than residential properties located within the next tenth from a park, the study shows. Commercial properties show an even greater gain in property value within the first tenth of a mile from a park, showing an 11 percent increase compared to properties in the second tenth of a mile from a park.