The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Volunteer, grant to repair stand at Roy Johnston Park


September 4, 2019

TYLER REECE and Cody Felkins explain the deficiencies in the Roy Johnston Park concessions stand behind them.

The Boys & Girls Club plans to begin repairing the concessions stand at Roy Johnston Park in the next couple of weeks.

The youth ballpark complex is located on 35th Avenue on Sweet Home School District behind Hawthorne Elementary School.

"We estimated about $10,000 for repairs," said Tyler Reece, director of programming and operations for the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam's Sweet Home branch. The Sweet Home Community Foundation awarded a $2,500 grant to the club for the project.

"We do have a gentleman that's stepping up doing a lot of the work and doing a lot of it in-kind."

Reece said the volunteer is anonymous at this point. He hadn't had the chance to talk with the donor.

The work includes a variety of repairs around the building.

"It's really outdated," Reece said of the facility. "It's spent a lot of years of really good use."

It has "holes in the ceiling," he said, and the floor will likely be replaced.

The cover over the window is difficult to use and needs to be replaced with a shutter, Reece said. A lot of high school students can't lift it.

The door is lifted by a winder with two lines attached to the bottom.

Once released to close it, "you've got to get out of the way," said B&G Club Athletic Director Cody Felkins.

The ice machine drains straight through the wall onto the ground, Reece said. The machine is used to make snow cones for every single ball player at the field each game day – and sometimes for the parents.

The water puddles onto the concrete around the stand, across gravel and into the grass. A patch of grass remains fully green where the puddle collects, while the grass around is turning brown.

The plan is to run a drainage line into the ground, Reece said.

"Our bathrooms don't work," he said. An "out of order" sign is tacked on one stall in the women's restroom.

The plumbing itself is filled with rocks, from children removing the cap on the clean-out and dropping rocks into the line.

For the past couple of years, Reece said, the club has had to bring in portable toilets during the baseball season. With the plumbing fixed, the money spent on portable toilets can go to other things the program needs.

The door to the storage area and siding around the building are damaged.

The club will increase the size of the bathrooms, decreasing storage space, and add an extra stall, Reece said. "This space (storage) is still holding up relatively well."

The project is primarily plumbing and basic repairs, Reece said. Work should begin in early September.

"We waited till after the baseball season," Reece said. "We didn't want a bunch of maintenance around" while crowds were using the grounds. The goal is to get as much done as possible by the end of the year.

The majority of the cost will be carried by the in-kind work of the volunteer, Reece said. The bulk of the cash will come from the foundation grant, and the club will kick in some money from its own budget.

Roy Johnston Park is used by six baseball teams with 12 to 15 players each, and eight T-ball and coach pitch teams with about 11 children each, Felkins said. Softball is primarily played at Foster Elementary School.

The building serves almost 200 Sweet Home families each season, Reece said, but it also draws people from all over the Mid-Valley area, and "this might be the only time they ever come out to Sweet Home. We want to give Sweet Home something to be proud of. A lot of people have put a lot of man-hours into this field."

Volunteers installed a sprinkler system and build new backstops on four fields six years ago.

This project will complement that work, and "it should serve us for years to come," Reece said.

"It gives kids something to look forward to seeing," Felkins said. The kids get excited about the snow cones following the games.

The community doesn't have a lot of open fields, he said, and he often sees families using the fields to play games.

"It's just a nice place for everyone to come and enjoy," he said.

Visitors often compliment Sweet Home on the fields, Felkins said, and some larger communities do not have fields as nice.

The baseball programs help get youths into sports, he said. "It shows them teamwork and how to get along with people."

TYLER REECE indicates where the concessions stand ice machine drains outside the building.

It helps coaches learn how to teach children these skills too, he said. "It helps the kids grow."

Felkins played T-ball on the same field, he said. "It wasn't as nice. We didn't have the snow cones."

But it still made a difference, he said. "It helped me stay in the right direction."

Sports helps keep kids on the right track, he said. Through it, they may learn the importance of maintaining their grades. It keeps them busy, and helps them avoid getting into trouble.

Between 2 and 6 p.m. "is when youth get into the most trouble," Reece said, noting that's after school but before their parents get home, a time when children are looking for something to do.

For more information about the project or the club, call (541) 367-6421.


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