1961 UNDER THE LIGHTS AT MATTOS
In the 1971 “Report on Parks and Playgrounds – Mattos Field”, experts conducting a study state that, “(Mattos Field is) One of the city’s largest and most used baseball fields, and was the largest skating areas for years. The floodlights are especially important because they allow the adults night play and outside tournaments. The lights are also a progressive sign of good recreational ideas. The morPreview attachment light up mattos texas.jpg
light up mattos texas.jpg
e basketball, fields, tennis courts and baseball fields we can flood light the more use and better recreational programs the city will have. Winter flooding possible and lights available for nights.”
In that same decade, the city installed lights at Middleton Playground for its adult basketball league, and built lighted tennis courts at both Green Street Playground and O’Malley School. All of these facilities were used; continually, to capacity, and until curfew. It was a great time for night play in parks and playgrounds.
The noteworthy thing here is that in an earlier version of the same report, filed in 1960, a full decade before reported, “The softball league installed light poles. “
Remarkable. More than a decade before, the city had erected the lights at Middleton. What was “Progressive” in “1971 was nothing short of “Visionary” in 1960. And that vision resulted in decades of night games for generations of city kids and adults. “Mattos” has rarely seen a playless night in fifty years.
However, for more than a decade Mattos’ lights have been failing. Time and the elements have taken their toll.
And hence, a small group of softball players and their families has been working tirelessly to, “Light Up Mattos”. With the help of the city, the CPA, a banner program, fundraisers, donors large and small and have raised about $180,000, enough to do the project. Or so they thought.
Three years ago the light’s electrical service, after limping through the season, finally failed. The city replaced and upgraded the power. But, the 1960’s wooden poles no longer qualify for use. And then, they fell down.
Unfortunately, the new electrical service, though proactively increased in size is just shy of what’s required to properly illuminate a 21st century softball field. Modern bats drive modern softballs faster, so require better designed, more uniform, field lighting coverage and, therefore, more fixtures. This had been part the problem for decades. More fixtures of course mean more electricity. So it appeared, a new service may be required, and more money to make that happen.
In 2015, 55 years since Mattos was illuminated, there are many lighted fields, baseball, football, soccer, and Mattos, the only softball field is dark. And, in over 55 years, not one of the tens of thousands of players, or hundreds of teams, sponsors, and businesses that benefited from this community field aver paid one dime to play “Under the lights at Mattos”.
The cost to play youth or scholastic sports is often too much for families to afford. Lighting fields is part of that cost. Lighted fields allow extended play and, therefore more time, and increased participation, in positive activities. Relighting the field is reigniting a hub of positive youth and family activity long into the evening for decades more.
But we can’t do this without your help. Please help in any way you can. Participate in one of our many fundraisers. Write a check of any size to the GFAA (who are championing this sports-centric drive), purchase an ad banner for the field, or even offer your service to the project. So that in 2017, the city’s most historic field will shine once more.
Light Up Mattos Texas Hold”em Tournament
Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 5pm deal at 6PM
at the St Peter’s Club
Contact Kristen Nicastro for details 978-239-9698