NYSSA – A group of local residents recently united to renovate the softball field at JJ’s Park and plan to rebuild a second ball field at South Park later this summer.
The ambitious effort began in May, said Jason Pearson, the sales manager of Eagle Eye Produce and member of the civic group that tackled the renovation project.
Along with Pearson, Nyssa residents Jesse Melendez, Kenny and Deanna Tucker and Juan Munoz helped refurbish the softball diamond at JJ’s Park, formerly North Park. The park – off of Walnut Avenue in north Nyssa – was renamed in June to honor Nyssa Police Department Cpl. Joseph Johnson who was shot and killed in the line of duty in April. While the core group spearheaded the project, Pearson said dozens of other community members also chipped into help.
The group lifted about four inches of dirt from the infield of the baseball field and replaced it with finely crushed dolomitic limestone, commonly known as Diamond Dust. The group also killed weeds that had overgrown sections of the field and plan to redo the fences around the ball field.
South Park, said Pearson, is the next project for the team. There, the team will also pull weeds, clean up garbage and haul dirt out to be replaced by Diamond Dust.
“Right after Thunderegg Days we will start on that one,” said Pearson.
The effort kicked off as a way to get Little League teams back to playing before a home crowd, said Pearson.
“In the past Nyssa hosted games and tournaments. For years, Nyssa youth have had to play in other cities,” said Pearson.
The softball field at JJ’s Park is already in use, he said.
“It’s hosting games on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” he said.
The park projects are also part of a larger blueprint to revitalize Nyssa, said Pearson.
Pearson said his interest in renovating the parks gained momentum after he stepped down from his position on the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce Board. He said he found he had more time on his hands.
“I decided to jump on this,” he said.
The two projects will cost around $16,000, covered by donations, he said.
“We just decided to get together and decided it would be a good thing,” he said.
Sponsors who donated money, equipment or materials included A&W, the Bybee Family, Arcadia Produce, Lassiter Roofing, Eagle Eye Produce, Les Schwab Tires, Peterson Farms, Nyssa Mercantile, Fort Boise Produce, Owyhee Produce, Larry Wilson Malheur Realty, Tucker Trucking and Idaho/Oregon Electric.
Pearson said the city and Serve Day volunteers painted the dugouts at the JJ’s Park.
Pearson said there is still a “lot of work to be done.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the project can send donations to the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce and write youth baseball on the donation.
By the end of the summer, Pearson hopes both fields will be in use.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].
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