Completing development of Young Park tied for the top desired outcome at last week’s visioning session in Baldwin. When you consider that the other top desired outcome was a community center with activities for all ages, it becomes clear that Baldwin’s priority is a mixed-use area where neighbors of every age can connect.
While people were excited by the idea of a community center at the visioning session, I also heard concern over the cost of such amenities. Others were throwing out the idea of putting a baseball or softball field at Young Park.
These ideas were floating in my mind while I was down in the tiny town of Whalan watching their softball tournament this weekend. I realized, looking at the simple construction of Whalan’s softball field, that something like it could probably be built in Baldwin inexpensively if community members were willing to pitch in to help construct it.
Then the construction of the field could also be a way for residents of many ages to engage.
For ideas of how this could be done, take a look at Whalan’s field:
The backstop of the field is comprised of what appear to be old telephone poles holding up simple rows of fencing material that have been bound.
The stands sitting behind the backdrop are also a simple construction. Notches along an angled piece of wood create a place for the bench slats to sit. They are then reinforced with other piece of wood underneath the stands.
The fencing lining the remainder of the field is the same material as the backdrops, but is supported by simple pieces of wood secured into the ground. It’s lined at the top with metal piping to create a clean edge and secure the fence.
Take a look at the image that appears at the beginning of this post again. The dugout consists of a simple bench with backrest.
The score-keeping box is a simple stand, with stairs and lattice work to enclose it. Additional fencing has been added, bound by metal piping, to protect the scorekeeper during games.
Whalan also has a small snack stand that resembles an open-air picnic shelter.
Next to the field there’s a simple playground, providing activities for young visitors and a small picnic shelter.
Parking is nothing more than an open field.
What do you think, should Baldwin build something similar? Does the simple construction give it rural character, or do you prefer more contemporary park construction?