Improvements to the athletic fields at River Run Park will update the ball field and dugouts that have not received attention for over two decades.
The welcome improvements were discussed at a recent Parks Commission meeting with the village budgeting $22,500 for the project.
The field will have new fencing and back stops, while the dugouts will receive new concrete floors, new benches and a shelter roof on top.
An increase in the cost is anticipated, Director of Finance Angela Gergye said, due to the fact that the fence will be completely replaced, not just repaired.
The village has also budgeted previous donation funds toward the project, she added.
Bob Munson, whose late brother, Tom, oversaw the development of the field, was in attendance at the Parks Commission meeting. He discussed coordinating donations and possible signage.
Councilman Brian Drum, liaison to the Parks Commission, said his interest is in leaving better baseball fields for the future.
“This is an awesome first step toward the overall goal,” Parks Commission member Greta Weber said.
“As dad to an 11U player, I spend a lot of time at baseball facilities in Chagrin Falls and surrounding communities,” Mr. Drum continued. “The field at River Run is a real asset to the village, and I’m grateful to the Chagrin Athletic Association members and supporters in the 1990s who made it possible.
“But over the years I’ve also noticed the ways in which it’s deteriorated or lacking,” he said.
Portions of the backstop fencing have rusted away, and the dugouts are prone to flooding during spring showers. In addition, players on the bench are left exposed to the hot summer sun.
Mr. Drum said he welcomes plans for new fencing and cement dugout floors.
“Baseball is such a great way for kids to learn the value of both individual effort and teamwork,” he added.
Mr. Drum said it seems that the local program has suffered some in recent years from neglect, competition from lacrosse and the pandemic.
“My son had to play a couple of seasons on out-of-town club teams, but I think it’s really important to have a community team, and we are fortunate to be back playing for the Chagrin Tigers this year with some awesome local families,” he said.
Mr. Drum hopes that the Parks Commission, Village Council and the village, along with Mr. Munson and current CAA baseball commissioner Chad Tisdale, will all work together on this project, as well as similar improvements to Founders Field.
That end result would leave both facilities better for future generations of baseball players.
Work on the fields is expected to commence following baseball season, either late July or early August.
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