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Red Tape Slows Progress On 'Field Of Dreams' In East OKC

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

If you build it, they will come. A business owner turned a pasture into a field of dreams near Interstate 240 and Anderson Rd. But before kids can take a swing, some permit requirements have to be met.

Ken Novotny has put over a million dollars of his own money to get the baseball complex to where it is today, and he says they've gone through some hurdles, but they weren't expecting this latest one.

It's a place where dreams of becoming a baseball star begin; A state of the art youth baseball complex, something hard to find in metro neighborhoods.

"This is just a community project to help the east side of Oklahoma City, and more importantly, anyone that wants to play youth sports," said Novotny.

The fields are major league size – 408' to center, 325' down the lines with 60 foot dug outs. A kid can really feel like they're in the major leagues.

"If you've got children that like to play soccer, or baseball, or football, or whatever the sport is, it's the smile that they have on their face whenever they get to come out," said Novotny.

But, to get the complex fully up to code, it has to meet ADA requirements. That would mean concrete pathways to get to the fields.

"It will be around $3 or $4,000 to get a concrete path to each one of the dug outs," said Novotny. "We have to have one access point to the field."

"A little minor setback, but you know, you got to go with what the requirements are," said Shon Burchett, Sr. Pastor at East Point Community Church.

East Pointe Community church next door owns the complex and wants to get the community involved to make that happen. Burchett says he wants people to know it exists and to know it's a place for children to come and enjoy sports.

"It's our heart. It's the heart of our church. It's the heart of what we want to be even as a team as we partnered up, just to provide that environment where the kids can have fun and enjoy life," said Burchett.  

They started developing the complex more than 12 years ago to get kids in the community more involved in something positive. The plan is to have all five fields on the property ready with all necessary ADA requirements by Labor Day.

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