ALTON - When Brant Walker, Bob Barnhart and Dave Quigley take a trip out to Lloyd Hopkins Field in Alton tonight to watch some baseball, they will likely have the biggest smiles on their faces of anyone about the stadium’s appearance.
An enormous effort by the Public Works Department and Alton Park and Recreation Department has been done over the last year to transform the field and prepare it for the upcoming American Legion Regional Tournament set for Wednesday through Sunday of this week.
Alton Mayor Brant Walker said he couldn’t be more proud of the work that has been done on Lloyd Hopkins Field over the past year by city workers.
“The field looks completely professional with cut outs, dugouts and much more,” Walker said. “It looks like a professional baseball field. This goes back to the quality of life issues I have been talking about. We have a lot of green space in the community with 19 parks and 13 fountains.”
Walker said hosting the American Legion Regional Baseball Tourney here is a big deal. Walker said the estimate is the tourney will bring in $750,000 in tourism revenue to Alton, from money spent at restaurants, hotels, and other area stores.
Barnhart, the Public Works supervisor, said it was nice to do the work to renovate the field and stadium confines for not only the American Legion Tourney, but the community.
“The community will benefit from these improvements and hopefully, it will generate some demand for additional tournaments to the area,” he said. “I hope this helps our local businesses and helps bring revenue to our small town.”
Given funding issues statewide, much of the work had to be done through the hard work of the city staff. It was not an easy project, Barnhart said, it took having the staff join together and work away slowly at the different problems.
“We wanted to fix problems and not keep fixing the same problem in the future,” he said.
“Our guys do a fantastic job. I think they did an exceptional job on this project. I am proud to be part of the Public Works Department and our work with the Park and Recreation Department. We have a good team of people. I hope this spreads to people in our neighborhoods and it is contagious to keep all our parks looking nice.”
Alton Public Works Maintenance Supervisor Dave Quigley said there are several new additions or renovations to Hopkins Field including:
- New walkup areas to home plate.
- New batting cages.
- Wrapped and redone dugouts.
- All new lights and bulbs and the light lenses have been cleaned.
- New siding and painted dugouts.
- Netting on the field has been replaced.
- New fencing up and down the stadium.
- New turf that extends from the infield to 30 feet into the outfield.
“We are pretty happy about it,” Quigley said. “A lot of different people helped on the project. It was falling apart before all this work.”