Located on 33 acres near the corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Old Scenic Highway, Zachary Youth Park, or ZYP, is home to both the baseball and softball teams from Zachary High School and the middle school softball team, as well as Zachary Youth Baseball Organization (ZYBO), Zachary Youth Softball Organization (ZYSO) and the Co-ed Softball League which plays at the end of ZYSO's season. In addition, a home-schooled high school in the area will also be playing their 10 home games at the park.
Hebert, who began his job as park director when Mayor David Amrhein began his administration in 2010 says some of the bigger complexes around the country have turfed fields such as in League City, Texas, where there are about seven hotels, restaurants, bars and more, all centered around a turfed baseball complex.
The ZYP turf project, which includes the four fields known as "the quad", began in 2012 and was completed in January 2013 by Geo-Surfaces of Baton Rouge.
"Initially we looked into turfing via a grant," said Hebert. "But that involved going through a company out of Oregon and it just didn't work out. Charles Dawson, owner of Geo-Surfaces, is second to none. They've been great to us."
Hebert said although the Zachary High baseball and softball fields are not turfed, the teams do use the fields for practice when their own fields are wet.
ZYP hosted a total of 1,122 games in 2012 including school ball and local and out of town tournaments.
While it's difficult to put a number on total players, Hebert does know that 735 kids from ZYBO and ZYSO alone played and a total of 248 additional teams played at the park in 2012.
Five Marucci Baseball tournaments are already scheduled for 2013, and a girls high school softball tournament is scheduled for March 22, 23 and 24, which is also ZFest weekend.
All of this equates to profit for ZYP. Fields are leased for $100 per day per field. "The way it works is that a tournament organization will call and lease a field or fields. They work the admission gate, and we supply the concession workers. For example, money earned at a gate during a Marucci tournament goes to Marucci and money earned in the concessions, comes to us," Hebert explained. "We're trying to do this so that everyone wins."
Hebert said that all funds earned at the park go back into making the park better.
Bathrooms and concession stands have been renovated, turf has been installed on four playing fields, batting cages have been turfed and concreted, sidewalks installed connecting ZYP to the BREC park, and ZYP partnered with the school to build a new girls softball locker room.
Hebert, Chip Troth, Assistant Park Director, and Rodney Williams, a third park employee, are responsible for maintaining the fields, getting concessions ready for games, cleaning up afterwards, coordinating league play and registration and much, much more. "There are days when it gets to be really overwhelming," Hebert said. "But we love our jobs."
Hebert's visions for Zachary Youth Park are grand but logical - to make the park functional, as well as a place for youth to play sports.
The park is located at 1650 Mount Pleasant Road. Contact Shane Hebert to lease a field or for more information at 654-6529.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: ZYP will not be available for ZFest parking as in years past.)