Cal Ripken Jr. helps open new field at Danny Thomas Park

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - Drive down Broadway and you will see the cracks and feel the bumps in the street.

For years, Danny Thomas Park along this stretch reflected the road where it sits.

That is changing, but it is also easy to miss from the road since the big change sits about 10 feet above the pavement.

"One, two, three," an organizer shouts during a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the new field.

Former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr., visited Toledo to help officially open the field for play — once the snow melts of course. The Ironman is the face of a foundation which carries his father's name, Cal Ripken Sr.

This 75,000 square foot synthetic turf field features baseball and soccer lines plus lights. The Cal Ripken Senior Foundation plus other donors made this field at the corner of Broadway and Stebbins possible as the City of Toledo tries to improve this neighborhood.

"We're not trying to find the next big league player here," Ripken Jr. said. "We're trying to use sport to get in front of them and push them in a positive direction and learn some of the valuable lessons that's in sport."

Five blocks away is the home of the Believe Center. It is one of two groups which will use this new field.

"A couple weeks ago when I got the keys to the new scoreboard, I cried," Believe Center Executive Director Tonya Duran said. "It was a dream come true."

Duran grew up over on Walbridge Avenue near I-75 and still lives in the neighborhood where she works today.

"I've seen it all, lived it all," Duran said. "This brings so much pride back to the neighborhood and I am so thankful."

This is the first field in Ohio funded by the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation.

"It's about the development of the kids here," Ripken Jr. said. "We build in the theme of a baseball field in many cases, but we don't care if they play baseball. They can do whatever they want, they can invent their own game. But this is a safe, outdoor classroom."

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