Still building the Field of Dreams

14

Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

The beautiful stone sign at the Field of Dreams was built to Virginia State Park specifications. The original stone was secured by Eugene Hannah and Leon McCaleb, and the sign was built by professional stone masons Jerry Sligh and Eddie Helms. Mike Hinson provided the interior cyprus framing.

The popular movie Field of Dreams has encompassed the passion of many in Craig County to continue to assist in making a dream come true by building their own Field of Dreams (FOD).


In reminiscing 2017 and how much was accomplished, the people who have worked so diligently in the Field of Dreams have been incredibly thankful to everyone who has contributed to finishing the project.

Debbie Snead, Director of the Craig County Recreation and Conservation Association (CCR&CA), who oversees the Field of Dreams, shared that the initial idea started a landslide of future hopes in how many events they could host in the future.

As Snead was asked if there was anything in 2017 that stood out, she mentioned that the beautiful picture of the new sign which was built to Virginia State Park specifications. “The original stone was secured by Eugene Hannah and Leon McCaleb, and the sign was built by professional stone masons Jerry Sligh and Eddie Helms. Mike Hinson provided the interior cyprus framing,” she said.

Snead also added that Nathan and Jody Scott help with the mowing, trimming and beautiful upkeep of the Field of Dreams. She added, “And, mom Christie Scott contributes the crowning touch by making sure the flowers and shrubbery truly enhance the sign. It was a community volunteer project that will be there for the future of our children.”

The original idea was birthed in 2005 by two parents, Tracy Surface and Mack McCaleb. “They came to our Craig Youth and Community Services Board to ask if we could help develop a recreation area for our youth,” Snead said. “There was no place for kids to play regulation games. Hosting games has given the kids a lot of pride (and the parents less trips out of the County),” Snead added.

The Board voted with a unanimous yes and soon created the Craig County Recreation and Conservation Association (CCR&CA) shortly afterward.

Since the FOD project is all volunteer assistance, they depend on grants and donations. “With the help of Dr. Eugene Seago, we were able to acquire the IRS 501c3 non-profit status so that we could secure grants,” Snead informed.

They recently received a grant from the Bill Belichick Foundation, which is a blessing to the FOD but will still need donations to fund numerous 2018 spring projects. Adams Construction and Paving also made a donation.

The tremendous costs involved in excavating and grading, along with all of the supplies, has been a challenge for the team, but not impossible. “It has taken over 12 years so far to gather donations and possible grants, and it continues to be a challenge to find funds,” Snead said.

Over the years, the County of Craig, the Town Council, VFW and Farmers and Merchants Bank have contributed generously to projects and maintenance. “We’re very grateful for this community support,” Snead added. “The CCR&CA Board has also been generous with their dedicated time and help. Teresa Oliver has been kind enough to serve as the President for several years, and Sheri Sloss has been the best sports director you could have.”

The Field of Dreams currently covers 18 acres of graded, hydro-seeded land which has three softball fields with backstops and control fences.

“Our fourth field is a large baseball field which is in need of fencing, but we’re talking about $30,000 – $35,000, so we’re in need of funding before this field is playable,” Snead said. They are also in need two more sets of dugouts and bleachers for those ball fields.

Plans include a concession stand with restrooms, a walking trail and a football field when funds become available.

“We’re planning an exciting event on May 21, 2018, National Kids to Parks Day, and we can sure use volunteers to help pull this together,” Snead shared. “Our friend Jefferson Lee, a recent graduate of Mount Union University in sports management, will be heading up the event.”

If anyone has the same dream that is entwined with the Field of Dreams, there are volunteer opportunities to help with constructing projects, labor costs, be coaches, be on the CCR&CA Board and to help with donations and fundraising. Will you be one who helps the goal of so many become a reality?