Right now, it's a diamond in the rough.

But officials of Fairfield American Little League hope that by next spring the champion team's home base at Gould Manor Park will be transformed into their field of dreams.

After winning final town approval -- over neighborhood opposition -- earlier this summer to transform the park's recreational ballfields into a complex befitting the league's status as one of the premier Little League organizations in the Northeast, construction on the project recently began.

The nearly $200,000 project, to be financed by the league, will reconfigure the two existing fields at the park. Chain-link permanent fences, up to 80 feet long and 10 feet high, will be installed between the two fields. In addition, temporary 4-foot-high home run fences made out of vinyl fabric will be used during the Little League seasons. The home-run fences are used, in part, to prevent low-flying "ground-ball" home runs.

Under its agreement with the town, Fairfield American Little League must post a performance bond or letter of credit and place caps over fence pole placements when the home run fences are not erected.

Approximately 950 players are members of Fairfield American Little League teams this year, with more than 300 games played annually at Gould Manor Park.

The agreement between the town and Fairfield American also stipulates that total would remain "substantially the same" after the renovation of the fields.