ASHEBORO — McCrary Park, considered by most to be a premiere stadium for baseball in the Southeast, is about to get better. A lot better.
The Asheboro City Council recently announced an upgrade to the facility, which will include new bleachers, new dugouts, a new playing surface, the construction of a locker room and a number of other amenities that will truly give the park a modern look with modern comforts.
“We see this investment as a true form of economic development,” Asheboro Mayor David Smith said in a statement when the renovations were announced. “Tournaments and ball games at McCrary Park consistently bring people to Asheboro businesses throughout the spring and summer. These improvements will further strengthen our partnership with the American Legion baseball program, Copperheads baseball and Asheboro City Schools. Renovations to McCrary Park are overdue.”
The city will be using public and private funds for the project, which was first scheduled to begin in October of 2022. However the first stage of the process could begin as early as this October. The first phase is expected to include flattening the bank out in the right field area, constructing new dugouts and putting in a completely new playing surface.
“This is an opportunity to enhance our tourism, restaurants and retail sales by inviting people to come here for baseball tournaments and other special events,” Smith said.
McCrary Park is already the home for the Asheboro High School Blue Comets baseball team, the Randolph County Post 45 Senior American Legion team, two Junior American Legion teams and since 1999, the Asheboro Copperheads, a summer collegiate wood bat league.
The stadium is also the home for a high school-aged fall baseball league, a spring high school baseball tournament and for eight straight summers – excluding the cancelled 2020 season – an American Legion regional tournament. The Southeast Regional Tournament was held for six consecutive summers before McCrary Park hosted the Mid-Atlantic Tournament in 2019 and 2021. The Southeast Regional returns for at least the next two summers.
McCrary Park has also hosted a number of college games in the past, including regional tournament events. When the upgrades are completed, Asheboro’s location and the renovated facility should certainly attract additional collegiate interest.
Opened in 1948, McCrary Park was built by McCrary Mills for its Industrial League baseball team, the McCrary Eagles. The Eagles had a long and successful stint at McCrary Park. The City of Asheboro leased and maintained the facility until Acme-McCrary donated the property to the city in 2017.
“We have been talking about it for years,” Smith said of the stadium upgrades. “The grandstands have gotten to be fairly unsafe. We reached the point where we had to do it and couldn’t just keep kicking that can down the road. When Acme deeded us the property, we had to be good stewards of the property and put the basics off for years. Now we own it and are ready to tackle the basics in order for it to be a first-class tournament venue. And to do that, we feel we have to do the whole project.”
New bathrooms, a new concession stand, a plaza and a playground are other amenities scheduled to be built. The renovations will be conducted in phases so the park will remain open for the teams currently using the stadium.