Harlingen schools give ball fields a makeover

Sixth graders enjoy the new baseball diamonds at Canal Fields. By Travis Whitehead, Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN — “Whack!”

The baseball sails across the field, driven by the force of a young sports enthusiast.

“Go! Go! Go!” shout fellow sixth graders as a young player dashes toward first base, then second base, then races toward third base and a home run at Canal Fields, 1602 Teege Ave.

The Harlingen school district has just completed work on the two baseball diamonds after spending several months using TRE funds to give the park a much-needed makeover.

“We just renovated the fields with a new sprinkler system and new fences,” said Oscar Tapia, assistant superintendent for district operations for the Harlingen school district.

“We fixed the dugouts, renovated the restrooms, just did overall maintenance on it so that we can work on our middle school program to start softball and baseball programs,” Tapia said.

The district received a $1.5 million A.C.E grant in August to create new afterschool programs, and one of those is a baseball program for middle schoolers.

“Right now it’s for the sixth grade afterschool program,” said Luis Solorio, acting athletic director.

“We’re using it kind of like a pilot here to see if there’s interest,” Solorio continued. “If there is interest this year in sixth grade, then next year the district will kick in and start a seventh and eighth grade baseball UIL for the middle school.”

Renovation work on the two fields cost $150,000 in Tax Ratification Election funds.

The school district purchased the 10-acre property in 2016 from the city for $175,000.