Storied football field in Belle Glade getting $3 million makeover

The Orange Bowl Committee and Palm Beach County team up to renovate Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park in Belle Glade. (WPEC)

A field where visions of NFL stardom took root for a number of athletes in Belle Glade is getting a $3 million makeover.

Crews broke ground Wednesday morning on Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park.

The park serves as a field for the Glades Youth Football League, and many former and current NFL players use the field for youth football camps during the summer.

The state-of-the-art upgrade, courtesy of the Orange Bowl Committee and Palm Beach County, is the fifth Legacy Gift by the Orange Bowl Committee to South Florida.

The committee launched the initiative in 2008 and unveiled the first renovated park, Orange Bowl Field at Moore Park, in 2011. Three more parks followed.

Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park will be the first for Palm Beach County.

"We think this area will get more out of it than any other area since the county already utilizes this park in a way that's significant," said Sean Pittman, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee.

Shaine Laramore, president of the Belle Glade Baby Raiders, says the new field is a blessing for the community.

"It allows us year-round programming for our kids to do the best we can as an organization to keep them out of trouble, out of the streets and focused on the right thing," Laramore said.

The youth football leader says the area has produced some big names like Fred Taylor, Travis Benjamin, and Deonte Thompson. Laramore said Thompson, of the Dallas Cowboys, returned over the summer to host a football camp and his presence alone proved to be huge to the young athletes.

"It's a good experience for the kids to be able to see them, touch them, talk to them, meet them and understand that they came from the same community that they came from, so anything is possible. All they got to do is put in the work and strive to be the best they can be," Laramore said.

Those dreams are already emerging.

"It’ll make me go somewhere. Move. I can move my family somewhere if I do good," said Casey Felton, a 14-year-old quarterback and running back with Glades Tri-County Football League. "I’m going to help my community and try to do the same thing the Orange Bowl did, try to build something out here."

According to the Orange Bowl Committee, other big stars to come out of the area include Kelvin Benjamin of the Buffalo Bills and Jatavis Brown with the Los Angeles Chargers.

"The amount of athletes that have come out of Belle Glade....a stadium of this magnitude deserved to be in this area," Pittman said.

Committee member Henri Crockett, who played on FSU's National Championship team in 1993, told CBS12 the impact is bigger than football.

"It restores faith in the community and the residents get an opportunity to come out to a park and enjoy a day with the family," he said.

Leaders hope to have the field ready by December. Once it's complete, there will be a push to bring in more sports to the complex, such as lacrosse.