ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Youth baseball season is almost here, but some local fields are still making repairs after recent storms.
That is the case at Roy Gayle Pony Baseball & Softball facilities in Rockford. Three dugouts were blown over by the wind on March 31, losing panels and missing roofs. One of them even came off of its foundation and tipped onto its side.
The organization is now raising money to rebuild the dugouts with a sturdier design.
“We start on April 24, so timing gave us a little bit of leeway. We got a couple of weeks yet, but not a lot of time,” said Aaron Potter, treasurer of Roy Gayle Pony Baseball & Softball. “Just last spring, we actually lost two dugouts. In a similar fashion, the derecho came through last spring, took out two dugouts, and we had to scramble. Same sort of thing to try to get those repaired and replaced before the season started.”
The new dugouts will be built as cinderblock units to avoid further damage in the future.
“Rebuilding three dugouts with a masonry design, a cinder block design, takes a little bit more time than just putting the wood back together, so we’re trying to do it in a way that’s got a little more sturdiness to the structure,” Potter said. “So, hopefully when winds come through the next time, these three dugouts will not be affected, but we still do have some other wood ones that we’re keeping our eyes on.”
The hope is to at least have walls up before youth games start at the end of April.
“They might not have roofs on the top of them by April 24, but we hope to have the walls and then we’ll put the shade for the kids at the top of the dugout shortly thereafter,” Potter said.
The fundraiser has a goal of $10,000. It has already been receiving donations from people in the community.
“It feels amazing. We’re so fortunate to have so many people that care about our facility and care about what we do here at Roy Gayle,” Potter said. “We’ve been doing it for 60 plus years. We want to do it for another 60 plus years, and we can only do that through the community’s graciousness.”
The GoFundMe has raised over $5,000 already.