Deer Park receives a 'dream' ball field

Staff Writer

By Thomas Costigan
Deer Park Tribune

The "Extreme Team" can make "dreams" come true as the Deer Park community discovered last week.
The KXLY-TV program, which was founded a decade ago to remodel old and dilapidated homes, has shifted some of its focus in recent years to worn out baseball diamonds.
Extreme Team coordinator Mark Peterson said his group of professional and community volunteers choose one ballfield for a complete make over every year. This year, the two baseball/softball fields at the city of Deer Park's sports complex was chosen for the "Diamonds and Dreams" makeover.
Peterson said the Extreme Team received an application letter from a Deer Park resident. The Deer Park application was one of nearly four dozen proposals that came as far away at the Canadian border and Lewiston, Idaho,
Separate committees looked at all of the applications and were asked to pick the top three for a makeover. Among the items the committees look at are the number of people who will be served by the makeover and its proximity to Spokane.
"We want to know we made an impact," Peterson said.
The Deer Park application was the only one to make the top three in each committee's review.
The original Deer Park ball fields, helped by a $77,000 state grant nearly three decades ago. An army of community volunteers did most of the work back then. Among the volunteers was Tim Verzal long before he became the city's mayor.
Another state grant allowed the city to install lights on both diamonds nearly two decades ago.
Over the years the diamonds have played host to well over thousands of Little League baseball and youth softball games. The high school softball programs also play their varsity and junior varsity games on the ball fields.
The Diamonds and Dreams makeover included removing a couple of inches from the dirt infields to and refilled with new 'baseball mix" soil. The work will help the ball field's drainage.
A small concrete patio was placed alongside the concession stand, which will also receive its own makeover, including new siding. A few October maple trees were planted along the fence line.
"The field is not in horrible shape," said Peterson last week.
In addition to the community volunteers, the Diamonds and Dreams team also received professional assistance from various businesses included Spokane area Chevrolet dealers, Wittkopf Landscaping, Everhart Painting and Titan Truck Equipment. Personnel from Spokane County Fire Districts 4 and 8 also supplied some manpower assistance.
After three days of work, the new-look Deer Park fields was rededicated with a short ceremony followed by a couple of Little League games.
Last year, the Diamonds and Dreams overhauled the baseball diamond at Freeman High School, which required much for more work.
To reach Thomas Costigan at the Deer Park Tribune, email ‪tom@dptribune.com.

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