Volunteers improve ball park

MCDONALD — Members of a local contractors union donated their time and service for improving the village ballfields, which are used by the McDonald High School baseball teams.

Will Lewis, president of the Youngstown Chapter of the Ohio Contractors Association said the association wanted to do a community service project and wanted to help at the fields by putting in stormwater piping for better drainage to eliminate water problems.

Bill Ifft, varsity boys baseball coach, said water stays on the ground at the fields and often games have to be canceled. He said the ground would not hold water with first and second bases usually ending up under water.

”There was no drainage. The right field usually was flooded. The help was unbelievable,” he said.

The group of five volunteers spent a weekend working on the project, which included installation of the pipes in a trench for better drainage and reseeding the soil.

Lewis said the donated work is valued between $40,000 and $50,000.

Ifft said the village has always done a great job maintaining the fields but there is a problem with water puddling there.

Resident Joe Sudol was the one who got the project moving when he contacted Lewis who looked at the fields to see what could be done.

Councilman Ray Lewis, assistant boys varsity baseball coach, said the village does not have the financial resources to redo the fields. The fields will now be ready for the 2018 season. He said village council gave its approval for the project.

Village Administrator Tom Domitrovich said the village budget was OK with maintaining services but ”is a little light on money we can dedicate to the park system.”

“It is very welcomed when someone can come into our ballifields and do an infrastructure upgrade installing stormwater pipe and we don’t have to budget that in our park account,” Domitrovich said.

Mayor Martin Puckett said they did do drainage at the fields and also donated fencing for the other fields at the park.

“When someone comes and gives us a donation, they really came though and went above and beyond,” Puckett said.

Domitrovich said the village owns all of the property and maintains all of the fields.

”What has been done will allow them to get on the fields after it rains. Previously when it rained we had to get off the fields because of all the water that stayed there. Now it has changed. We will be able to play games as soon as possible after it rains,” Domitrovich said.

”They followed through on what they said they would do to the fields and we appreciate it,” Domitrovich said.