Field of Dreams

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

FLINT, TX (KLTV) -   83 years young, D.J. Clements can't think of a better day than one spent at the ball field.

"No, I don't think so," Clements said.   "Except being in a good church service."

Some would call the ball field a sanctuary.  Clements designed the first Flint Gresham Ballpark off of road 2493, nearly 60 years ago.

"This whole area would be covered in cars," said Clements of the parking area.

"It was too far to go to Tyler," said East Texas Knights Youth Baseball Coach Sam Smith.  "And this really was the center of the universe for this area. It did go into disrepair."

Interest dropped in the 1980's.  The field suffered.

"When they finally quit (playing), it turned into a cow pasture," said Clements.

"A year and a half ago, you were looking at six foot tall weeds," said Smith.  "Fences that were falling down."

Thanks to a devoted group of area parents, the field has risen.

"Parents and kids have come out here putting the field in and sod," said Smith.  "As a group the work hours are hard to count."

The Flint Gresham Community Improvement Association has worked with the East Texas Knights youth baseball team to raise over 100 thousand dollars, to renovate the field.

They've grown a new outfield.  Installed a new fence and lights, and renovated the concession stand.

"It's pretty cool," said nine year old Alec Tipton.  "It's like super cool. It's amazing."

"We're hoping like they said in the field of dreams, 'if you build it, they will come,'" said Smith.

Excitement has returned to the community.  The man who started it all, couldn't be happier.

"What's great about it is you're seeing young people develop," said Clements.  "Kids having a good time."

It's a beautiful day for a ball game.

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