The Bob Lewis Ballpark (formerly known as the ENKA Youth Sports Complex) is hosting the Opening Pitch Ceremony at noon on Thursday, July 19th, 2018 at 144 Jacob Holme Way, Candler, NC. The opening ceremony will serve as the official kickoff to the first softball event at the ballpark since completed construction. Ceremony organizers expect Buncombe County Commissioners, members of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, and other distinguished Asheville figures to be in attendance for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. There are also an anticipated 3,000 participants expected for the first showcase event which will run July 19th through July 21st, 2018.
In 2014, parents and local business owners established the ENKA Youth Sports Organization (a 501c3 nonprofit) to find a way to support the growing number of children playing baseball and softball in our region. This group provided the oversight for the Bob Lewis Ballpark project that will serve Asheville’s youth athletes. It is also expected to attract statewide and regional tournaments, generating visitor spending at local businesses and tax revenues. The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority provided a $2 million Tourism Product Development Grant to make this project possible. The Ballpark itself was built on formerly unusable land which the ENKA Youth Sports Organization developed to return to safe public use.
Stuart Weidie, Chairman of The ENKA Youth Sports Organization Board, along with other board members, looks forward to welcoming members of the Asheville community to the Opening Pitch Ceremony. Weidie says, “We are proud to provide a top of the line sports facility experience for our local youth, in addition to drawing visitors to our city. We are thrilled, but not surprised, to have 3,000 people expected to attend the first event. Our region can realize a dramatic increase in revenue for hotels, restaurants and other attractions, when we attract travel baseball and softball tournaments to Asheville as other North Carolina cities have done. We know the possibilities for this sports complex are great, and I am excited this sports complex has become a reality to serve the children of western North Carolina.”
The community is welcome to attend this event. Directions to site: From Interstate 40, Head West on Smoky Park Highway (US 19/23); Turn left on Sand Hill Road; Turn Left on Jacob Holme Way; Proceed to end of road and turn left (alongside New Belgium Distribution Center); Proceed to end of road and take right up Hill to ENKA Sports Complex.