Manatee East Little League recently unveiled its new concession building during the league’s Opening Day celebration Feb. 20.
The league was able to build its new concession building through a public and private partnership between Manatee County Parks and Recreation and Director Cindy Turner, support from Commissioner Donna Hayes, Manatee East fundraising efforts, family and corporate funding and a final $30,000 donation from Neal Communities.
Manatee East board members, Hayes, Turner, and Pat and Charlene Neal officially opened the new concession building during a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Following the ceremony, Hayes and Neal were each presented with a key to the Lakewood Ranch Park and each threw out the first pitch, along with Manatee East Little League board member Allen Steinfeld who was a pioneer of the Concession Project, to kick off this opening day celebration.
“The new Concession Building project is another important example of how public and private enterprises can effectively work together to come up with a solution for a much-needed facility,” Hayes said. “Kids, baseball and supporting youth and other important sports programs are vital to our community, both from an economic as well as quality-of-life issue,” she added.
The new 30-foot-by-40-foot building is centrally located and provides restrooms close to the field, storage space and concession sales. Staffed by Manatee East board and family members, the new concession building will benefit the league and its players, as well as local families who use the park.
Construction for the new concession building began in early November 2009 at a cost of $150,000. Manatee County and Pat Neal provided $130,000 of the total cost.
“We’re longtime residents and raised our own kids here,” Pat Neal said. “Providing facilities that encourage kids to get involved in sports is paramount to a community’s success – kids who are involved in sports are more likely to be achievers in school and other aspects of their lives. It was just the right thing to do."