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4/19/2013 - City celebrates official opening of NAPA Auto Parts Field -- Cal Ripken Sr. Youth Development Park
Multi-Purpose Field To Help Address Growing Needs of Bridgeport-Area Youth;
First field built in Northeast and first in state of Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT, CT (April 18, 2013) – Nearly 300 people of all ages turned out Thursday to celebrate the official opening of the NAPA Auto Parts Field – Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Youth Development Park in the City’s West End. Mayor Bill Finch, Cal Ripken Jr., Steve Salem, principal donor John DeMattia, city officials and community members cut the ribbon on the multi-purpose field that will serve as a beacon for youth development and community engagement.

“This is a great day for the children of Bridgeport. This facility is a wonderful example of how public-private partnerships can work for the benefit of our children and their families. Our heartfelt thanks to all the donors who made this ‘field of dreams’ happen for our youth,” said Mayor Bill Finch. The field is the first Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Youth Development Park in the Northeast and the first to be built in the state of Connecticut.

The Ripken Foundation will work closely with the Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department to create and offer programs, including baseball and/or softball themed programs, to engage at-risk young people. The programs will address a variety of youth development needs, which include character development, health and physical education, and culture and history.

The NAPA Auto Parts Park is a $1 million, state-of-the art facility designed to be attractive, safe, fun, educational, and stimulating. The youth development park will support not only the Ripken Foundation’s baseball and softball themed programs, but also other youth sports programs such as soccer and flag football. The ballpark features synthetic turf playing surface provided by Astroturf.

About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation uses baseball and softball themed programs to help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth residing in America’s most distressed communities. Founded in 2001 by members of the Ripken family in memory of their patriarch Cal, Sr., the Foundation works to create programs that positively impact at-risk youth through active community partnerships with America’s most successful youth service organizations.

For more photos, check out Mayor Finch's Facebook page.