KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pat Clarke began efforts to renovate renovate Satchel Paige Stadium two years ago, and though progress has been slow, the Kansas City, Missouri, community leader has no intention of giving up.
He organized a concert, All Good in the Hood Funkfest, at the stadium planned for Labor Day weekend.
"That's the beginning. We want to show Kansas City and the leadership of Kansas City that, yes, we can use this for other than baseball," Clarke said. "We don't want to tear down the field, we just want to build it up."
But when it sits idle, Clarke said, that's when deterioration occurs.
He has pointed out the issues at the stadium for years – bleachers and steps are still crumbling; the foundation need to be reinforced; concrete need to be replaced; and a fresh coat of paint would brighten the place up. Clarke said he also would like to see artificial turf and a digital scoreboard.
The park was acquired in the early 1980s. In 2012, the field got a makeover, but everything else remained the same.
Clarke still is working with the KCMO Parks and Recreation Department to secure funding.
"KC Parks is always looking for funding to improve our park amenities, but currently no resources have been allocated for this project," Heidi Markle, spokesperson for KC Parks, said. "The stadium is included in our new QLID district so it is receiving more attention with regards to ongoing maintenance and upkeep."
The QLID program, or Quality of Life Improvement District, aims to give extra attention to parks in five districts that have the lowest life expectancy in order to prevent inequity.
Currently, 38 of 221 city parks are in the QLID.
It's one of Clarke's passion projects because he also wants to revitalize baseball itself in the neighborhood.
"Going after these 5, 6, 7 year olds, you kind of give these kids a state of mind," Clarke said. "We're talking about programming for 2022 because when there's not baseball being played here, what's going on?"
The All Good in the Hood Funkfest starts on Saturday. Doors open at 4 p.m. and music starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. However, people who can show proof they were vaccinated that same day get in for free.
The event will happen rain or shine.