2012-11-16 / Front Page

If you build it

Field repairs nearly finished
By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer

The Baseball field at Mahoney isn't quite finished, but the parks and recreation department has added new material to the base paths and redone the grass field edges. By next spring, it will be ready for game action for the first time in several years. (Jack Flagler photo)The Baseball field at Mahoney isn't quite finished, but the parks and recreation department has added new material to the base paths and redone the grass field edges. By next spring, it will be ready for game action for the first time in several years. (Jack Flagler photo)SOUTH PORTLAND - As the weather gets colder, days get darker and snow starts to fall on the ground, baseball is probably not on the minds of most South Portland residents right now.

But the South Portland School and Parks and Recreation departments are already thinking ahead to spring.

The city’s board of education unanimously voted at a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7 to allocate $14,203.75 from the school department’s maintenance reserve funds to resurface the Mahoney Middle School diamond. The money allowed the parks and recreation department to have the materials it needed to bring the diamond up to safety standards.

“It was apparent that the surface was not only unusable, but has also become a safety hazard,” wrote Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Godin in a memo to the board of education.

Parks and Recreation Director Rick Towle said the project will likely be finished by Thanksgiving, although the winter storm that hit the city Nov. 7 caused a slight delay.

The grass infield edges have been recut, the proper materials have been added to the base paths and the diamond appears nearly done as it awaits a new home plate, pitching rubber and bases.

Towle said historically, the field has been used by the middle school baseball team, local youth Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams and freshmen in high school. But he said “it hasn’t been really viable for several years.”

Last year, the Mahoney Middle School baseball team as well as the South Portland High School team played all their home games on one of the two Wainwright fields. The high school baseball diamond is not in use any more because the of the ongoing construction project that started in May.

The lack of viable fields at the high school and Mahoney put a lot of stress on Wainwright fields, Towle said. With demand rising, he said it was necessary to update the Mahoney diamond to give baseball players in the city more options.

“In order to keep the Wainwright Fields at their peak, we have to have other fields as well for other people to practice on,” Towle said.

The work on the Mahoney diamond is an extension of a project that started two years ago to renovate the athletic fields at the middle school. Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped the city upgrade the outfield and soccer field in summer and fall of 2010, but not the baseball diamond.

“The project did not address the baseball infield and in fact left inadequate materials on the infield,” Godin wrote in her memo to the board.

Towle said when the Mahoney project is done, the parks and recreation department will next turn its attention to the Memorial Middle School baseball field, which is also in need of minor repairs. Towle hopes that work will be finished by Jan. 1.

Spring may seem like a long way off. But when the snow melts, the weather warms up and baseball gloves are fished out of the garage, the city will hope to be ready.

Return to top