Sprucing up South River ballfield
Recreation group looking at funding options
It’s been awhile since any softball has been played on the ballfield in South River.
These days you’re more likely to see a group of young people hanging out there and away from prying eyes than someone using it as an athletic arena.
All of this is something the South River Recreation Committee is looking to change in the near future through a recreation rejuvenation project. The members are chair Melissa Hierlihy, Maria Power, Maggie Snow, Dana Taylor and Charlotte Warford.
The group has its eyes on submitting the ballfield project to the Aviva Community Fund, a competition that offers a total of $1 million to projects that garner the most votes online. The South River group is hoping to get $100,000 for the project.
The deadline to submit their application is Oct. 2. On Sept. 25, four members of the five-person group was at the ballfield to take some pictures of the field.
They saw the overgrown infield, dilapidated shed on the third base side and the collapsed dugouts.
Still, there is plenty of upside to the ballfield. The fencing is in relatively good condition and the backstop is in tremendous shape. Those are pillars for which the group to build upon moving forward.
Beneath this evening’s falling sun, a trio of children make their way around the field. With a puppy nipping at their heels and a plastic bat in hand they make the most of it.
For a few fleeting moments, it is possible to see what the field can be.
“I would say this could be the cornerstone for what we’re doing in the community,” said Hierlihy.
The field would also provide ample space for the town’s up- coming 50th anniversary celebrations next year.
“The demographics have changed,” said Hierlihy. “There’s lots of new homes ... and this area is a busy area.
“So, there is a need for recreation facilities and this already exists.”
In advance of applying to Aviva, the recreation committee sought any memories or feel-good stories about the ballfield that community members may have. The idea was to include them in their proposal. The group thought the reception was strong.
There were memories of the summer recreation program that used the field and plenty of hazy summer afternoons spent riding bikes along the path.
The current recreation committee in South River got its start just over a year ago. It’s a chore to trace back to the last time such an entity existed in the town.
Made up of mothers and community members, the group is looking to turn the boat around on giving children something to do.
“Since we’ve been formed, we’ve been trying to get a lot of things done in the community for all ages,” said Taylor. “Most of our stuff has been focused on children. There isn’t a whole lot here for children. The playground was old and dangerous and we’re hoping to have it up and running in the next month or so.”
Outside of bring in new play equipment, they’ve looked at putting in hockey nets on the slab of pavement behind the playground. Creating a walking trail that would link to the site of the ballfield is another possibility.
“We can see about adult-oriented programs as well,” said Taylor. “It’d be good to get it going for children and adults in the area.”
Reshaping the recreation world in a community can be an exhausting ordeal for any number of people.
Same goes for the five-member South River group. They said they’re always looking for fresh faces and new ideas when it comes to volunteering.
“We’d like to have some more members,” said Taylor.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the committee or just interested in the group’s activities can visit its Facebook page by searching Town of South River Recreation/Social group.
In the meantime, the group will continue to push forward with the playground project, as well as filing out the application for the Aviva fund.
A group of young children stand in a bushel of alder bushes that have sprung up in the infield of the South River ballfield. They are, from left, Camryn Taylor, Hayden Hierlihy and Jacob Ralph. They’re just a few of the children who would benefit from the South River recreation committee’s goal of sprucing up the ballfield.