Friday, April 22, 2011
HRV baseball coach Erich Harjo likes what he sees when he looks out at Traner Field.
"The grass is green; the infield has a nice red color to it," he said. "This is a nice place to watch a game."
But he doesn't just want it be nice: Like the expectations he has for his team, he wants it to be the best. He wants it to be a destination, a place where young kids growing up just waiting for the day that they can play there - and he's got a plan to do it.
"This would be the icing on the cake," he said.
The Eagles are hoping to raise the money in the coming year to make substantial upgrades to the field and make it a facility the Hood River baseball community can be proud of.
Small segments of the work have already been done, including a new concrete backstop and new netting behind the plate. When finished, the upgrades would include aluminum bleachers that can hold up to 400 fans.
"As we build a program and get better, there are going to be more state games here and we want to seat 400 people here; not just 150 on wooden bleachers," Harjo said.
The bleachers will be 3 feet off the ground and sit on a concrete base which will include restrooms, concessions, an enclosed press box and a terrace which Harjo said could include fire pits.
The area around the field would also be covered in asphalt to prevent it from turning into a sea of mud during the rainy season.
The dugouts on both sides of the diamond will be moved back to increase the size of foul ground and eventually Harjo would like to build up a high right field wall, which currently is just 233 feet from home plate and an easy home run for lefty pull hitters.
The project will not use any school district money, but will instead paid for by a combination of grants, donations and fund raising.
"It's not a school district job," Harjo said. "We're planning to go with local guys. We want the money to stay here."
Harjo is hoping for the project to be finished in time for spring of 2013, when the freshmen on the team when he became coach will be seniors.
The whole project will cost around $150,000 and Harjo is hoping to get some help from the community for a project which he thinks will pay dividends in local baseball and the community at large.
He envisions the facility hosting spring break tournaments, summer ball tournaments and youth baseball events, as well.
Hosting tournaments with teams from around the area means overnight stays and people with time to spend money in the community.
The team has applied for a grant with Lions, who also helped with the construction of the school's indoor hitting facility and softball press box, and hopes to hear back by December.
At that point Harjo would like work to start going full-speed-ahead so it can be finished by 2013.
Harjo said he has noticed an uptick of kids and people who don't have children in the program coming to watch games, and wants to make the experience more inviting.
Currently the park has old wooden bleachers, a trailer for concessions and porta-potties as restrooms.
That would change substantially with the new upgrades.
Harjo envisions the upgraded facilities being a point of Hood River pride for years to come.
"This," he said, "would be one of the nicer ballparks in the state."
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge