PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Locals from all across Panama City came to Woods Field to celebrate its reopening Wednesday.
Even some local players from the 1940s and 1970s came back to the field. Former Negro League player Wadell Spearman and former Rosenwald player Willie Robinson say this is where it all started.
“I came up playing this field in the 40s and I had a chance to play Army ball, semi-pro ball, and had a chance to play a little bit with Indianapolis Clowns,” said Spearman.
“I love the field. Every time I come home I always come back to see Harvey Woods Field,” said Robinson.
The segregated field was eventually named after Harvey Woods, who was a graduate of Rosenwald High School in 1949 and a former Glenwood little league coach.
Woods died in September 2013.
After Hurricane Michael damaged the field in 2018, Panama City officials began the restoration project. They accomplished enough to reopen in July 2021.
The Vice President of Florida Power and Light J.T. Young said they gave a generous donation.
“We were grateful to be able to partner with the city on this and to make a $50,000 donation to this great effort for this park. This ball field means so much to the community, especially as they rebound from the impact of Hurricane Michael,” said Young.
Panama City Commissioner Janine Lucas said the community worked hard on the project.
“So as you look around the field, you see that there’s great community support and these banners, there are folks who have already stepped up to provide the community portion of making sure this field is available for play. And so we are thankful to those folks as well,” said Lucas.
Some of the updated amenities consist of new lights, a concrete pad for a concession stand, bleachers, and dugouts.
For more information about Woods Field, you can either email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can click here for the Panama City government website.