Chicago Youth Have Two New Refurbished Baseball Diamonds Thanks To Community Members And Organizations

A Community Member on A Mission

Two years ago, a Chicago native decided to make a difference in the neighborhood his son is growing up in. As the Armstrong Park Advisory Council Treasurer, Decoteau Irby brought the idea to refurbish the baseball diamonds at Armstrong Park, in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, to his team and the journey began.

Irby says Armstrong Park has an active basketball court, playground, and an open field where neighborhood kids spend a lot of time. He’s noticed that within the past decade, the park’s two baseball diamonds have been either mud pits or small ponds, and he wanted to change that so youth could have another activity to enjoy at the park.

“I’m big on all options,” said Irby. “Whatever our children want to try they should have the opportunity to try.”

Armstrong Park Advisory Council – a volunteer resident group that works with the park district and local officials to improve the local park – received a $100,000 grant from Chicago Cubs Charities Diamond Project to refurbish the diamonds. The park celebrated with a ribbon cutting in late October 2022. Irby said people were playing on the field just a day after the celebration.

Group of parents and children in front of 2 new Refurbished Baseball Diamonds
Armstrong Park’s baseball diamonds ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the refurbishment. (Picture by The Armstrong Park Advisory Council)

History of Baseball and the Black Community

Irby is a big fan of baseball. According to him, the number of Black people who play baseball has dropped since the 1980s-1990s, and he wants to get those numbers back up.

“This is a sport that Black Americans made popular.”

– Decoteau Irby

Irby may have had the idea but he said this is a full community effort from partnering with the Chicago Cubs to getting community input from stakeholders, local principals, parents, and more.

Overall, the project came together in around nine months.

“This is something that anyone can do,” said Irby.

Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.

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