At the plate

Kaden enjoys the new batting facility.

It was more than four years ago when I was approached by some representatives of Seaside Kids Inc., and the Seaside School District with a request: Will you help us find a way to build an indoor baseball and softball facility at Broadway Park?

The question was a simple one and my answer was even simpler: Yes. I believe wholeheartedly in working collaboratively within our community to maximize opportunities for healthy activities. In my experience, starting with a yes and working with the partners to creatively find solutions and get projects completed is a much more fulfilling and appropriate course of action than the alternatives.

The project took every bit of that time frame to come to completion but over the past month or two, the Herche Family Training Facility became a completed reality. Already, it is serving hundreds of local children and helping give them an outlet for their time and energy, while preparing them for upcoming seasons.

I wanted to share some of the important milestones that occurred along the path of this project from its inception to completion.

First, the project got a head start in funding from the Oregon Community Foundation. The foundation has long supported our community through grants and been a partner of SEPRD’s in many ways. Through the Lester and Sarah Louise Raw Seaside Youth Fund, the project was kickstarted by a sizable grant.

Second, the project had a number of key supporters from our community. Chris Corder, a local coach and business owner, volunteered to serve as project manager and coordinated the undertaking. Along the path to completion, he likely gave hundreds of hours of his time and knowledge. Other individuals including the Seaside Kids Inc. Board, SEPRD staff and Sunset Park & Recreation Foundation board have also volunteered time or resources along the way. Now that the project has been completed and opened, Chris gets to coach his children in the facility but the benefits will outlast the current athletes’ time in competition — this will be a great thing for decades to come!

Third, the project got generous funding from many individuals and businesses within the community. Countless contractors donated their time, knowledge and expertise including AMJ Insulation, Borland Electric, Coastal Restoration, Ryan Osburn Plumbing and White’s Heating. Daily during the construction process, a different contractor pulled in, often offering help and support.

Included in this process were connections to the Autzen Foundation and a wonderful donation from the Mary and Tom Herche Family. Both of those supporters provided an incredible lift in the process. The Herche Family earned the naming rights to the facility.

Fourth, the project gained approval from the City of Seaside and the SEPRD board. These were important steps to share the land that the facility is built on and establish responsibility for supervision and maintenance to the district and S.K.I., with support from the Sunset Park & Recreation Foundation.

As the facility neared completion, the timing was unfortunate with the spread of COVID-19 and due to the guidance from state and local health authorities, the opening was delayed. However, I’m happy to share that over the past few weeks the facility has been open and heavily utilized with revisions to keep participants safe.

It’s been an amazing lift to many of our young athletes in our community to have a space to recreate and be active and the facility has been utilized by children and youth ages 7 to 18. Those rentals have come through the good work of Seaside Kids and their formed teams but it’s also available for the public to utilize.

It has been so inspiring to be a small part in this process and I’m in awe of the good people and hard workers in this community.

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