The historic Pete’s Pool ballfield, which has been home to generations of small sluggers, recently received a significant facelift.
A May 11 ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted the volunteer-driven effort that was financed with state dollars.
The project was the brainchild of the Chinook Little League board of directors, which manages operations of the city-owned facility.
Wedged between the city’s golf course and the Expo Center Field House, the ballfield is now used by upward of 400 players. But it has been home to thousands of runs, hits, errors and defensive gems since coming in existence in 1940.
The field sprang to life 82 years ago on land owned by Pete Chorak, who had already developed a swimming pool on his land, a popular summertime spot that was fed by natural springs. The pool was dug into land that has since been filled, covered over and turned into the field house parking lot.
The ballpark was a community effort, just like the recent project.
Over the years, the park fell out of use (but never completely closed) and was “not being used to it’s full potential” due to an outdated backstop, said league President Bruce McCann.
The Chinook board landed a $75,000 grant that was turned into an entirely new backstop that features six towering poles that required the drilling of six big holes; netting that provides a better spectator experience than the commonly-used chain link fencing; a smooth rim of blacktop behind the backstop; a pair of refurbished dugouts; and a new scoreboard in the outfield.
While it was the volunteer board overseeing the upgrades, they’re quick to highlight the long list of project boosters that made it all possible. While many made important cash donations, others provided professional expertise and equipment.
The result is a venue that is much more aesthetically-pleasing for players and fans alike, used for both softball and baseball. Those players range from beginners hitting the ball off a tee to young teens.