Turning a near-jungle into “Fields of Dreams” in north St. Louis County. The idea was just a dream about a year ago. Saturday for the first time in more than a decade, kids were playing ball again at a park in Bellefontaine Neighbors. It is a dream of a man, who said some 51 years ago, “my life should be about children.”
One man`s dream seemed a nightmare at first. Bob Russell Park, which drew national acclaim as home to the Surrey Lane Athletic Association the 50s and 60s, had become an over-grown eye-sore; certainly no place for baseball.
Bob Russell, the son of the man for whom the park was named, remembered his dad`s long-time friendship with Martin Mathews of the Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club.
Mr. Mathews was deeply moved when the son approached him with a plan to bring baseball back to the park; it was Russell`s father who helped Mathews secure a building for his fledgling athletic club for children so long ago.
Martin Mathews, the founder of Mathews-Dickey, gets emotional seeing kids out here playing ball again. For him, the seeds of this day were planted about 50 years ago. With new corporate sponsors and hundreds of volunteers, the park was re-dedicated and renamed Mathews-Dickey Bob Russell Park.