In March 19 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The Jamestown City Park has recently undergone a restoration process and with the spring months right around the corner residents will finally be able to see the improvements up close, according to Jamestown Mayor Brooks Bates.
"This was one of our highest priorities," Bates said of the park, and specifically, the baseball fields.
"I think it had been sorely overlooked for some time."
The community has taken notice as well.
"I will say that I've heard more comments about the ball park than any other thing than we've done in the city," the mayor said.
Last year, the city also installed new, top of the line Musco lights at the park's two baseball fields, Bates said.
"We got a $200,000 project done for about $128,000 and it was done right," he said. "We got a lot of bang for the buck."
Bates commended Rep. Jeff Hoover and Public Works Director Ottis Skaggs for "working tirelessly" to spearhead the lighting and other park projects.
Around $97,000 came from a state grant and the Bank of Jamestown contributed $5,000 to the project. The city covered the remaining amount.
The mayor did say the the park was sorely needing more property as the city looks to expand its area in the future. He said adjacent lands to the park would be looked at at the appropriate time.
Bates said, originally, the late Mike Hill was the chairperson for the park board and spent nearly three decades looking out for the city's park before his untimely death in 2007. A dedication is being planned for this summer. The park's Little League field is to be named Mike Hill Field in honor of the late board chairman, Bates said. When the dedication is finalized, Bates said he would make note of that at an upcoming city council meeting.
Upon Hill's passing, the head of the park board fell to Mindy Bertram who Bates said "took the ball and ran with it."
Bertram and park board member David Rexroat both agreed that 2008 saw record numbers utilize what the park has to offer.
"A lot of people come here for their family reunions and a lot of churches use the park," Rexroat said.
He also said that several softball leagues play at the city park and do a lot for upkeep of the area.
"A lot of people from the community are really proud of that," Rexroat said.
Bertram said one of her prime concern was the cosmetic upkeep of the park and areas that are used throughout the summer months while Rexroat and the others concentrated more on the upkeep of the fields.
She did say that her sons have played, and continue to play baseball on the fields and that she has a deep interest in seeing them rightfully developed.
Much of that day to day work falls upon Jamestown Maintenance head man Rudy Chapman and his team of workers.
"They will do anything that needs to be done," Bertram said. "When we started the restoration we wanted to make sure that it wasn't just a Little League park, it's the city park and it is for everyone."
Chapman said over the past year he and his workers have worked on installing the lights, painting and restoring the concession stands, replacing and painting wood at the picnic shelter, helping to put in a new multi-purpose batting cage, restoring the dugouts and removing the old metal bleachers and replacing them with new aluminum ones.
The current park board consists of Bertram, Rexroat, Nick Shearer, Don Cooper and Barry Coffey.
"I am so proud of what we've accomplished so far," Bertram said.