Beale Park ‘alive and well’ after 2018 uncertainty

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Super Bowl pool nets $4K for upkeep

About 3-½ years ago, a committee of Smithfield residents gave themselves the daunting task of raising $300,000 to save Beale Park.

The Smithfield Recreation Association — which runs baseball and softball programs for children ages 5-16 and owns the 53-year-old, 6.3-acre athletic park — had planned to sell Beale in 2018 to meet its financial obligation toward the construction of the town’s newer, larger Joseph W. Luter Jr. Sports Complex. After receiving pushback from its membership, the SRA’s board of directors renegotiated with the town to make the $300,000 payment over 10 years instead.

Now, the committee is nearly a third of the way to reaching its goal.

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Over the past three years, the Save Beale Park Committee has raised $90,000 by holding annual golf tournaments at the Cypress Creek Golfers Club. In February, the committee raised another $4,000 by holding a Super Bowl squares contest.

For the Save Beale pool, participants could buy $25 squares offering $250 payouts for the first, second and third quarter scores, and $500 for the final score, or $50 squares with $500 payouts for the first, second and third quarters and $1,000 for the final score.

“One of the winners, Pat Edwards, donated her prize back to the park as well … We also have quite a few generous souls who are making annual donations,” said Kara Hearn, one of the organizers of the Save Beale Super Bowl pool.

The committee hopes to use the proceeds from the Super Bowl pool to fund upgrades to Beale’s aging bathroom facilities and concession stand – and possibly add a baseball- or softball-themed mural.

“It needs a little TLC,” said Rachael Klopfer, a committee member.

Klopfer, like many of the committee members, played on Beale’s fields as a child.

“The facility has been a wonderful place for our community for many years and we are going to succeed in keeping it that way,” Hearn said.

The Beale and Luter facilities are both “key to SRA’s ability to provide the greatest opportunity for our youth to practice and play games,” said Hearn’s husband, Corey, who serves as the SRA’s president. “Beale Park is alive and well. The future usage of both facilities will continue to grow as SRA grows.”

The park is named for Carl Beale, who gave large land donations to the SRA, Smithfield Baptist Church and the Riverside Healthy Living Community. Beale Park is adjacent to the Smithfield Swim Club, though the two facilities are separately owned and operated.