COLUMBIA, S.C. — Kids in Columbia had their first chance to run across home plate at Columbia's new All Stars Baseball Field on Saturday.

The City of Columbia hosted a grand opening for the park, which, just a few years ago, was mostly an empty field.

It's located on Lester Drive, offering a space for children in nearby neighborhoods like Booker Washington Heights and the Colony Apartments to enjoy.

In an area that's too often plagued with crime, community members like Nyvee Dreher believe this park could help curb the problem. 

"It's showing these kids that somebody do care and there's other things out in the street beside the drugs and the violence," Dreher said. "It give them the opportunity to do something positive."

Regina Williams is the president of the Booker Washington Heights neighborhood and worked alongside City of Columbia leaders like Mayor Steve Benjamin, City Councilman Edward McDowell, Jr. and Senator John Scott to improve the space. 

"We're going to change the perception," Williams said. "We all have dreams. The dreams are for prosperity, for hope, for hope for a future....They are loved, they are worthy and they have so much to offer and this offers them the opportunity to give their talents back to the neighborhood."

Williams says they hope to also open a library, neighborhood gym and a grocery store in the future.