Several months ago, Nicholas Robison, at the suggestion of his grandfather, George Robison, then president of the Key Peninsula Lions Club, chose as his Eagle Scout project the creation of a bleachers-like concrete stone retaining wall at the upper ball field in KP’s Volunteer Park. The wall is along the park’s entry roadway, where the soil is almost entirely sand. Over the years, younger kids, frequently siblings of slightly older kids who were on the ball fields for Little League play, have played in that sand. Though wholly disinterested in baseball, the wee ones imaginatively dug up and built castles and other wonders with the sand. Thus, the roadway was gradually imperiled.
Enter the Lions-and-Scouts-inspired roadway rescuers.
Nicholas Robison gathered up his dad, Ed, several scouts from his troop, and, of course, grandpa George, and set to work. Having completed the initial project, everyone involved decided to continue it and build the retainer wall/bleacher seats all along the east perimeter of the field. This is a very big and expensive operation for volunteers, according to George Robison.
On learning of the activity, John Parker, owner-operator of Freight Taxi and an ardent supporter and sponsor of the KP Little League, contributed $1,500 to help move the project along. This made possible the latest endeavor.
As of Saturday, Oct. 14, the diligent team had completed what it calls “phase two” of the project, which extended the original effort along, curving around from the third base line fenced-in team dugout and around home plate. Plans are in the works to resume construction as soon as more funding for the materials can be acquired to extend the work around and past the first base line dugout.
Robison said, “The volunteer rate would be $17 per hour and is quite meaningful to the park district.”
Scott Gallacher, executive director of the KP Metropolitan Park District, and the KPMPD board have expressed their gratitude to the Scouts and Lions for this ongoing enhancement of the park. Kurt Self, president of the KP Little League, told the Lions Club at a mid-October club meeting, “Little League supporters are delighted with the new ‘bleachers.’”
Robison explained, “The first phase, consisting of 500 blocks weighing 60 pounds each, was completed as an emergency project to protect the park’s entrance driveway from being undermined by erosion. For the current phase, 720 of the 60 pound blocks were placed to continue protection for the driveway and shore up the embankment behind the backstop, taking 70 man-hours for the job over seven days. The contribution from John Parker to the Lions Club paid for 600 of the blocks.”
It was planned that at the end of October another 720 blocks would arrive so that the deteriorating bank can be restored to protect tree roots and provide a place to sit while watching ball games. Plans have been made to seek funds to purchase enough blocks to enable the volunteer workers to provide this protection and “bleacher” seating all the way to the northern-most reach of the upper fields.
Anyone wishing to contribute to or work on this project is encouraged to contact George Robison at 853-2721.