Good morning everyone! I hope your weekend is off to a great start and that you all are staying warm up there. I have some great news to share with you today in regards to the re-establishment and resurrection of one of the baseball fields in Cruz Bay!
Hurricanes Irma and Maria stripped St. John of so much more than her natural beauty. In addition to 70% of low to middle income homes being damaged or destroyed in the winds and rain of the 2017 sister storms, the children of the island lost their school and outlets for healthy recreational activities. The two ball fields in town were re-appropriated for storm rescue operations and recovery projects.
Immediately following the storms, the ball field adjacent to the National Park Visitor Center near Mongoose Junction was immediately taken over by rescue operation vehicles and, eventually, used as the parking lot for the BBC utility trucks as their hard working teams repaired the power lines on island. Later, the ball field at the Julius E. Sprauve school was filled with mobile classrooms and a small playground so that the children could return to normal school hours. The loss of these two fields left the kids (and adults!) of St. John with a large hole in the realm of outdoor recreation and organized team activities.
Well, I’m happy to say that in a post on their Facebook page yesterday, the Virgin Islands National Park announced a phased plan to repair and restore the ball field in front of the Visitor Center! Phase one concluded with the clearing and removal of debris from the field. Phase two work has now begun to to restore the ball field within its present foot print up to the small playground area on its Western edge, which is being addressed in a separate project.
They will also be adding a new fence and lighting (night games will be back soon!), a standard backstop, dug outs and new bleachers!
In 1970, the park service offered a special use permit to the USVI “for the purpose of providing a recreational area for Little League Baseball and a Tiny Tot Playground.” I don’t know about you all, but I am certainly excited about seeing this forward progress in Cruz Bay! And I’m looking very forward to being able to catch a little league baseball game once again in the near future 🙂