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Play Ball! East End Park Reopens

May 10, 2009 — After months of waiting, Alvin McBean Little League East has finally resumed play in its home park — just in time to close out the 2008-2009 season.
The park was rededicated over the weekend, marking the end of more than six months' worth of intense renovations and a lot of traveling for parents, who have been bouncing from ballpark to ballpark while waiting for the work to finish up.
"It's a wonderful day at McBean because we're finally back at home," League president Kevin Matthew said at Saturday's opening ceremonies, which were followed by the final games of the season. "We've traveled to Frenchtown ballpark, traveled all the way to Smith Bay ballpark, and now we're really happy to say that we're back at home."
Upgrades to McBean are part of a larger ongoing effort by Housing, Parks and Recreation to fix up the territory's parks and recreational facilities — a project the department assessed would cost more than $5 million. The 27th Legislature gave the department $3 million — $1.5 million for each district — to begin the work on about 20 facilities on St. Croix, 10 on St. Thomas and two to three more projects on St. John. (See "Complaints Mount as Work Continues at Baseball Field.")
Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire Williams has said the timetable for fixing up McBean changed once the department got more money and decided to expand the project. Final upgrades were estimated to cost close to $1 million, but about 12 local contractors were brought in and much of the work was performed in-house to cut down on the expenses, he said Saturday.
Along with refurbishing the bathrooms, concession stand and bleachers, workers also resurfaced the basketball and tennis courts, put in a new scoreboard and installed energy-efficient lights and secure fencing around the field.
Speakers during Saturday's ceremony emphasized the importance of not letting outside influences ruin the park.
"We have a responsibility to ensue that these facilities remain in the same state they are in today — we cannot desecrate them," said Sen. Louis Patrick Hill. "It is going to take the government to maintain them, it's going to take children, parents and entire community to make sure that the elements of this community don't destroy what we've built. I challenge all of us to make sure that these facilities continue to be as beautiful as they are today five years from now."
While times are hard economically, the government will not cut back on funding opportunities for children, said Gov. John deJongh Jr. But at the same time, parents have to be out in the stands showing their support, he said.
"It's important that when we walk through the park that we see the parents," he said. "It is important that the parents not just look at the baseball field or the basketball court or the tennis court as an opportunity to just drop their children off and leave. There's nothing that equals a parent saying to their child, 'You did a good job, and I watched you as you were out there playing your sport.'"
DeJongh also renewed his plea for the Senate to pass a bill that would put Housing, Parks and Recreation's focus completely on sports and youth activities.
"I have for three years submitted to the Legislature a bill to change it to the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation and for three years they have neglected it and decided not to do it," deJongh said Saturday. "I hope that we have done today, what we do next week and what we will continue to do in the future will show the Legislature the importance of creating an agency like this that we can build all our activities around."
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May 10, 2009 -- After months of waiting, Alvin McBean Little League East has finally resumed play in its home park -- just in time to close out the 2008-2009 season.
The park was rededicated over the weekend, marking the end of more than six months' worth of intense renovations and a lot of traveling for parents, who have been bouncing from ballpark to ballpark while waiting for the work to finish up.
"It's a wonderful day at McBean because we're finally back at home," League president Kevin Matthew said at Saturday's opening ceremonies, which were followed by the final games of the season. "We've traveled to Frenchtown ballpark, traveled all the way to Smith Bay ballpark, and now we're really happy to say that we're back at home."
Upgrades to McBean are part of a larger ongoing effort by Housing, Parks and Recreation to fix up the territory's parks and recreational facilities -- a project the department assessed would cost more than $5 million. The 27th Legislature gave the department $3 million -- $1.5 million for each district -- to begin the work on about 20 facilities on St. Croix, 10 on St. Thomas and two to three more projects on St. John. (See "Complaints Mount as Work Continues at Baseball Field.")
Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire Williams has said the timetable for fixing up McBean changed once the department got more money and decided to expand the project. Final upgrades were estimated to cost close to $1 million, but about 12 local contractors were brought in and much of the work was performed in-house to cut down on the expenses, he said Saturday.
Along with refurbishing the bathrooms, concession stand and bleachers, workers also resurfaced the basketball and tennis courts, put in a new scoreboard and installed energy-efficient lights and secure fencing around the field.
Speakers during Saturday's ceremony emphasized the importance of not letting outside influences ruin the park.
"We have a responsibility to ensue that these facilities remain in the same state they are in today -- we cannot desecrate them," said Sen. Louis Patrick Hill. "It is going to take the government to maintain them, it's going to take children, parents and entire community to make sure that the elements of this community don't destroy what we've built. I challenge all of us to make sure that these facilities continue to be as beautiful as they are today five years from now."
While times are hard economically, the government will not cut back on funding opportunities for children, said Gov. John deJongh Jr. But at the same time, parents have to be out in the stands showing their support, he said.
"It's important that when we walk through the park that we see the parents," he said. "It is important that the parents not just look at the baseball field or the basketball court or the tennis court as an opportunity to just drop their children off and leave. There's nothing that equals a parent saying to their child, 'You did a good job, and I watched you as you were out there playing your sport.'"
DeJongh also renewed his plea for the Senate to pass a bill that would put Housing, Parks and Recreation's focus completely on sports and youth activities.
"I have for three years submitted to the Legislature a bill to change it to the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation and for three years they have neglected it and decided not to do it," deJongh said Saturday. "I hope that we have done today, what we do next week and what we will continue to do in the future will show the Legislature the importance of creating an agency like this that we can build all our activities around."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.