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Posted on: November 15, 2019

City rededicating fields at Lenoir Optimist Park

The rear field at Lenoir Optimist Park, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019

The City of Lenoir will rededicate the baseball fields at Optimist Park Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, to honor W.D. "Dave" King and Harold Beach.

Staff will hold the ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at the park.

Little League started in Lenoir in 1952. Dave King and Harold Beach were founders of the league, and served as officials. Mr. King also coached. The first four teams were the Optimist Club team, Kiwanis Club team, Lions Club team, and Rotary Club team. The teams played on the field at Optimist Park.

City of Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons was involved in Little League for 30 years, playing and coaching. He coached the All-Star Team that won the league's first and only State Championship in 1983.

"I’m very proud of that," he said.

Lenoir Little League raised money in 1983 to send the All-Star team to the state championship. The league had some money left over when they came back home to Lenoir.

"After we won the championship, we used the remaining funds to build the second field at Optimist Park," Mayor Gibbons said. "We dedicated both fields in 1984, one to Mr. King and one to Mr. Beach, to thank them and honor them as founders."

In 2010, the City of Lenoir left the Little League program and joined the Tar Heel Leagues, www.tarheelleagues.com.

A few years ago, the Lenoir Optimist Club donated Optimist Park to the City of Lenoir. City staff planned to make some improvements to the park. In 2016, the City applied for and received a grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to make improvements. The park is getting some new amenities including a parking lot, restrooms, a playground, two picnic shelters, permanent cornhole boards, walking paths, and lights on the rear field. 

Workers started making those improvements this year. The new lights are up for the rear baseball field. Crews installed a new playground. The City Public Works Department built two new picnic shelters. The department also graded and prepared the new parking lot for paving.

Mayor Gibbons said now is a good time to rededicate the fields to Mr. King and Mr. Beach.

 "We are rededicating the fields to remember our history and because we’re doing a lot of great work at the park," Mayor Gibbons said. 

Mayor Gibbons and other staff will hold a ceremony and hang new signs honoring Mr. King and Mr. Beach at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the City of Lenoir Optimist Park. The park is located at 701 Mulberry St SW, Lenoir.

The public is invited to attend.

The rear field at Lenoir Optimist Park, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019

W.D. Dave King Field at the Lenoir Optimist Park Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.

Site plan showing planned improvements at Lenoir Optimist Park

The site plan above shows the new parking lot, shelters, playground, restrooms, and path. The plan shows the rear field being turned, but staff has decided to leave the field as is.

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