By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard was in the Hunting Park section of the city today to help dedicate a new “field of dreams” for the neighborhood.

“This park is amazing. It looks beautiful,” the Phillies’ injured slugger said.

Ryan played a big part in restoring what had been your typical, litter-strewn baseball field.

Now, there’s nothing but pristine, emerald grass, a meticulously manicured infield, and all the amenities, including a big scoreboard and dugouts.

(Ryan Howard gets a round of applause from city officials and others at the dedication of Hunting Park Field. Credit: Paul Kurtz)

It’s a $700,000 makeover, thanks to a public-private partnership that includes the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Citizens Bank, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Ryan Howard Family foundation.

“I hope this field becomes a field of dreams for all here at Hunting Park, and for the Hunting Park Indians,” Ryan said.  “I encourage all of the young athletes to work hard — at school first, and baseball second.”

This is the first phase of a $3-million project to breathe new life into the neighborhood.

“We’re bringing in six new tennis courts by July of this year (and) a brand new football field for the Hunting Park Aztecs,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell of the Fairmount Park Conservancy.  “It’s going to keep going and going, and we’re not gonna stop until Hunting Park is the field that it needs and deserves to be.”