LINCOLN–(KFOR Aug. 22)–Ground was broken Tuesday morning for the $27-million Sandhills Global Youth Complex at 1st and Cornhusker, which will make way eight fields for baseball and softball use.

Money for the project is split among public and private funds, while Sandhills Global contributed a $4-million gift toward the project in March.

Artificial turf will be used on the five youth-level baseball and softball fields, facilities for the Nebraska Wesleyan baseball and softball teams and a field dedicated to Homer’s Heroes, a program for boys and girls with special needs. Lights and seating will be installed for each field.

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird says along with the economic impacts, the new ballfields have the potential to positively impact the lives of the youth and their families.

“I eagerly await the day when we see that first pitch is thrown out and we have families gathered together to cheer on young ones,” Gaylor Baird said.

Darin Erstad, who was an All-American baseball player and later a coach at Nebraska and played Major League Baseball, is a member of the Youth Complex Board said the vision for this project was about the kids.

“About the youth of this area….that’s investing in these kids. Investing in opportunities for them, investing in this community,” Erstad said.

The project is scheduled to be done by the fall of 2024 and ready for play by the 2025 season.