Minden Press-Herald

Wednesday
Oct 01st

Cullen man gives park a facelift

When Ricky Thomas of Cullen had to decide where to do his internship for completion of his Master's Degree in Sports Administration, he chose Ludwig Park in Cullen.

Thomas had the opportunity to perform his internship with several professional ball teams such as Memphis Grizzlies, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Royals But, he chose Ludwig Park.

The land for the ballpark was purchased by the Town of Cullen in 1967. Construction began shortly thereafter to build a boy's baseball field with a concession stand and restroom. The age groups who played on the field were from six to 18 years of age.

Ludwig Park had a major impact on Thomas' life. He began playing baseball at Ludwig Park when he was seven years old. The role models in his life were his dad Charles Thomas, Sr. and Billy Dubois. Both coached not only Thomas but many of the boys from Cullen and surrounding areas.

When Thomas would visit his grandmother in Cullen, he would visit Ludwig Park as well. He was heartbroken at the condition of the park and how it had been abandoned by the City of Cullen.

The field had eight-foot-high vegetation, trees and vines growing in the dugouts and backstop, and trash and debris had been dumped by local residents and contractors in five foot piles in the parking area. He felt it was disgusting.

Thomas made a plan to revamp Ludwig Park and shared it with Cullen's Mayor and city council at their meeting in January 2011. He was given approval, but no budget was allocated for the project.

Since then, Thomas has made the following improvements to the park: a complete paint job has been performed on the bleachers, concession stand, dugouts, backstop and playground equipment; the rotten lumber on the concession stand and the missing lumber for seating on the bleachers was replaced with lumber donated by B & S Supply Lumber Yard; the parking lot has been cleared of all trash and debris and re-graveled with the assistance from Webster Parish Police Juror Jimmy Thomas; all trees and vegetation have been removed from the dugouts, backstop, play ground, bleachers and around the concession stand; a control burn of the baseball field was conducted with the assistance of Cullen's Fire Department; the field has been dragged and mowed many times; the dimensions of the field have been laid out; and the base lines and baseball diamond have been rotor tilled with all excess grass removed from the diamond.

Since Thomas has operated with no budget, he has paid for a majority of the materials and supplies out of his pocket.

He has requested donations from various local businesses for funding to purchase materials and supplies, swings for the playground and picnic tables for the covered pavilion. Two cash donations from Pafford Ambulance Company and Bee-Bop's Grocery and Market have been received and were used to purchase new doors for the concession stand, four sets of chains and hardware for swings, plumbing supplies and 10 gallons of paint.

However, to date, no other donations have been received. For any individuals or businesses interested in making a donation, an account has been opened at Citizens Bank, entitled 'Friends of Ludwig Park' or contact Ricky Thomas at 870-582-3636 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also contact Claudine Adams at 470-6430 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

In addition to revamping the ballpark, a reunion for former players, coaches and spectators who participated at Ludwig Park from 1960 – 1990 are invited to attend on Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Group pictures of all past players and coaches will be taken at noon and refreshments will also be served.

 

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