Parents Association leads Troy softball field renovations


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — The city-owned softball fields on North Market Street in Troy are getting some much-needed maintenance, thanks to a renovations project organized by the Troy High School Softball Parents Association (THSSPA) and is funded through contributions from local businesses and individuals.

Phase III of the nine-phase renovation project is currently underway, and includes construction of a 42-inch-high raised seating area and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramp.

“Work has started,” Troy High School Varsity Softball Head Coach Scott Beeler said. “We’ve got the footers poured, and they’re going to be blocking in the walls this week or next week.”

“It gives us an elevated seating area that allows for better viewing for the fans,” he said. “It also gives us a better-looking stadium.”

An ADA-compliant ramp will also increase safety and access at the softball fields, Beeler said.

“We have people trip on the rocks,” he said. “We’ve had people fall because there’s no handrails; it’s so steep.”

“About two years ago, I was coaching third base,” Beeler said. “I should have been paying attention to the game, but I happened to see a grandparent pulled up, they got out and got their wheelchair out.”

“She got in her wheelchair and they couldn’t push her in the gravel,” he said. “They parked at the top of the hill and she watched the game from up there at the top, which is not what every grandparent wants to do.”

“It kind of spoke to me and said ‘Hey, we need to do something to make this accessable for everybody,’” Beeler said.

Work on the raised seating area and ramp should be completed by late March or early April, Beeler said, although the association is still seeking donations to fund the purchase of handrails for the new seating area.

“We are hoping that this phase will be completed by Good Friday,” he said. “It’s going up quickly; our biggest hold-up right now is we will be able to get it done, but we just don’t have the money for the handrails.”

“Without the handrails, we can’t use it,” Beeler said.

Costs for phase III of the project, including the ramp and seating, are estimated at $125,000 to $150,000. The total cost for phases III through IX of the renovation project will be approximately $225,000 to $250,000, Beeler said.

Donations are being accepted through a special GoFundMe site that has been set up for the project, or by contacting the association through Facebook. Donations can also be made directly to the THSSPA by emailing Beeler at [email protected].

The city of Troy, which owns the softball fields, has contributed approximately $4,000 towards the renovations, Beeler said.

“This was not something they were planning for in their budget,” he said. “I knew when I wanted to do this, it was going to have to be 100% private funds to get it done.”

Phases I and II of the project have already been completed, and included fencing to enclose the field, a new batting cage and repairs to the outfield.

Upcoming phases will include new backstop netting and backstop padding, as well as new bleachers, a new press box and warning track, and the addition of a new locker room off of the third base dugout.

All Troy High School softball teams use the fields, Beeler said; it is unknown exactly when they were originally built or when they were last renovated.

“I don’t know when they were originally built,” he said. “I know that softball started in 1975; that’s when it was sponsored as an official OHSAA sport.”

“It’s had to have been there for at least fifty years,” Beeler said.

The fields have been renovated at some point in the past, he said.

“We knew that the field used to go back, probably 30 feet behind our homeplate,” Beeler said. “We always knew that the old homeplate area was back there, because there’s a sign out on the right field fence that says 230 feet. In digging the footers, we found the old bottom rails of the fencing.”

“I’m not sure when all that was taken out or changed, but we’ve found a lot of posts and concrete and some steps and things that were still in the ground,” he said.

“It’s a good field,” Beeler said. “We’ve put a lot of money and work into it over the past seven or eight years to get the field correct. We just needed to do something to make it look better, and be better for everyone to be able to watch a game.”

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