WHITESBORO — The capstone of Whitesboro’s multi-year civic improvement effort at Charles C. Whitecotton Park is ready to be placed. On Nov. 15, the Whitesboro Economic Development Corp. will be legally authorized to transfer up to $100,000 to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for the purchase of lighting arrays that will complete the park’s new T-ball field and thus finish the last major step in the asset’s transformation.

WHITESBORO — The capstone of Whitesboro’s multi-year civic improvement effort at Charles C. Whitecotton Park is ready to be placed. On Nov. 15, the Whitesboro Economic Development Corp. will be legally authorized to transfer up to $100,000 to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for the purchase of lighting arrays that will complete the park’s new T-ball field and thus finish the last major step in the asset’s transformation.


"In 2008, the city started looking at our facilities, and Whitecotton Park in particular," said Parks and Recreation Director Penny Renfroe Friday. "After we kicked a lot of ideas around, we decided to see if we could enlarge the existing park that was there. … We didn’t have any irrigation before, so we put in irrigation for the three existing fields. We built a new parking lot with a new entrance to the park. … Then a couple years later, they came back and did all the flatwork there, and we did the lighting."


The last major renovation, said Renfroe, is the addition of a fourth, smaller field to be used specifically for T-ball. Sprinkler work on the new field was completed about a month ago, said city officials, leaving the lights as the last unfinished piece of the puzzle.


"We had the field laid out from the beginning, but we’re just now to that phase, now that we’ve put the fencing up and got the dugouts," said Renfroe. "The big thing left to do is the lighting, and that’s kind of where we stand right now."


Enter WEDCO. Over the past several months, officials with the Economic Development Corp. have worked to jump through several legally required hoops in order to facilitate the lighting project using specially designated tax funds earmarked for community improvement.


"What economic development is about is we make the quality-of-life better for our community," said WEDCO Director Lynda Anderson. "If a company is bringing their employees here, they want something that will entertain, so that’s why we get involved in something like this, because it increases the quality-of-life."


Though the various upgrades at the Park do more than just augment the happiness of citizens, said Renfroe. A fourth field at the same location as the three others will allow the Parks Department to de-emphasize use of the field at Center Park, providing for a safer recreational experience, she said.


"The other field that we had been using was not as contained, so it was not a safe place, especially for little siblings," said Renfroe. "So I think having everything away from the parking area and not having a traffic issue — I think safety is the biggest gain we’re making here."


Renfroe was quick to credit both WEDCO and the Whitesboro City Council with their leadership on the park upgrades, which she said will likely continue on a smaller scale in years to come.


"The people in Whitesboro that made the decisions about funding considered it a priority to be able to provide something for kids, and our City Council is just unbelievable," said Renfroe. "When next summer rolls around, it’s just going to be so exciting for the little ones."