In July 23 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The regulation Little League baseball field at the Jamestown City Park was rightfully given its new name on Sunday during a commemoration ceremony at the park. Mike Hill Field will now forever be the field's name in honor of the late Mike Hill, the longstanding park board chairman who passed away in July of 2007 after an untimely illness.
Hill's wife, Sharon, their three sons, Brian, Stephen and John and daughter-in-law Amy joined with Jamestown Mayor Brooks Bates, Jamestown City Councilman Larry Joe Murray and current park board member Don Cooper at the commemoration where a large plaque was unveiled with the field's name and that also acknowledged Hill for all his efforts at the park through the past three decades.
"I think Mike would be very appreciative," Sharon said of the honor. "This was close to his heart even before we had children. He was a member of the park board and he though it was always important to have a place where children could play."
She said her late husband was in charge at the park when they installed the newest playground equipment and when they acquired land so that a second playground area could be built.
"It was his idea, too, that we had a picnic shelter so that the park could be enjoyed for other than just ballgames," she said.
She said since he had been in charge at the park for so long, since the mid-1970s, he felt it was his job to make sure it was maintained properly.
"He wanted the tennis courts put in and it was a goal of his to put the regulation softball field in so that they could have tournaments, even adults have utilized it tremendously," she said.
Sharon said that he also oversaw the installation of the fields' previous lighting system with the help of Duo County Telephone.
"Like I said, it was close to his heart and he always had it on his mind," she said. "Our three boys played over here and it was a very fun place and I think it is very important that we have a safe atmosphere for young children to go and play sports."
Hill said her late husband rarely had a lot of funding to put into the park but what he was able to get went to good use.
"But it was pretty much getting people to come together and dedicate their time to the cause," she said.
She said the city parks sits on a fairly old piece of property but that the park is still taken care of better than many she and her late husband had seen in other towns.
"Even though this isn't fancy, it is a lot better than some towns who are even larger than ours," she said.
She told of numerous times of her and her husband passing through Jamestown after dark and noticing that the lights at the tennis courts were still on. She said they would drive over to check and see if anyone was still playing and if not, he would flip the switch and turn the lights off.
Recently, the Jamestown City Park has has undergone a restoration process that Hill would have been proud of.
"This was one of our highest priorities," Mayor Bates said of the park this past spring.
Last year, the city installed new, top of the line Musco lights for around $128,000 at the park's two fields.
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 said at the last city council meeting that Councilman George Ralph Garr was looking into park expansion with adjacent lands.