Ujima Magazine attended the Downs Field Ceremony to celebrate the community raising money to revitalize the historical Downs Field.

Photo: Damita Miller-Shanklin
Photo: Damita Miller-Shanklin

Against the backdrop of “Jackie Robinson Day,” AACHD and the Friends of Downs Field announced they had raised nearly $200,000 for improvements to Downs Field in East Austin. Raised from public and private sources, the funds will be used to implement phase I of the Baseball Legacy Project, which includes creating a new front entrance to the ballpark and a public art mural.

Downs Field is the past home of the Negro Baseball League’s Austin Black Senators and has hosted baseball greats such as Satchel Paige, Willie Wells, Buck O’Neil, and countless other players who went on to contribute to America’s Major and Minor League Baseball.

In 2013, Downs Field was designated a historic landmark by the Texas Historical Commission. Today, it is home to the Huston-Tillotson University Rams baseball team and the Austin Metro Baseball League.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler; AACHD Executive Director Lisa Byrd; and Austin Parks and Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley gave an overview of the plans for the new renovated baseball. Thanks were giving to all the supporters and community members who have supported the Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District (AACHD) in making this endeavor come to fruition.

Sources of Funds Raised:
• $50,000 from the Austin Parks Foundation • $20,000 from the Austin Sports Commission • $102,807 from the City of Austin Public Works Department, Neighborhood Partnership Program

Phase One Improvements:
• Artistic elements – two murals depicting Downs Field’s history, including notable players • New front entrance • New fencing – removal of the cyclone fence and barbed wire, and addition of slated wood fencing.

The work will be begin on Phase 1 of the renovation very soon. For more information please contact: Shuronda Robinson, 512.297.9392

Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District was formed in late 2013 to preserve the history of black Austinites and promote East Austin. Since then, AACHD has been actively promoting the district through tours, arts programming and community engagement. Approved by the City of Austin in 2007, the district comprises approximately six square miles in central- east Austin from Manor Road to the north and Huston-Tillotson University to the south, to Airport Boulevard to the east and IH-35 to the west. It is home to numerous sites of national, regional and local historic significance, and celebrates African-Americans and others who have played important roles in creating the vibrancy of Austin.

#downsfield, #AACHD, #baseball, #makingthingsclear, #ujimamagazine, #austinblackhistory, #legacy, #eastaustinhistory, #revitalization

Posted by Damita Miller-Shanklin

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