The baseball field at Founders Park in Islamorada is home to the Coral Shores Hurricanes baseball program. The school district is proposing improvements to the field, but it needs village support. DAVID GROSS/Keys Weekly

Upgrades could be on the way to a field that serves as the home to Coral Shores Hurricanes baseball. That’s if the Monroe County School District and Islamorada officials agree on the improvements.

Last November, the school board voted 4-1 to award a request for qualifications for the design and construction of upgrades at Founders Park baseball field to Chris-Tel Construction. The board gave its support by adding that the item was contingent on the village council’s approval.

Pat Lefere, operations and planning director for the district, told the school board before the vote that it’s the first step in a lengthy process with significant review expected from the district and village on the specific enhancements.

Per the RFQ, the school board allocated $5 million for renovations, from artificial turf to replace the grass to new bleachers, backstop, fences, protective netting and dugouts. A new building for a concession stand, locker rooms, press box and bathrooms was also detailed. Lefere said the district began discussions with the village over ball field improvements two years ago.

The village of Islamorada will host a community meeting on Monday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m. at Founders Park Community Center. The Monroe County School District will present its proposal for improvements to the baseball field at Founders Park.

The public is encouraged to attend. Residents may send their comments to The email should contain the words “public comment” in the subject line.

Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.