Ruritans receive PUP grant for ball field improvements

May 2, 2013

From Bulletin staff reporters:

The Mt. Olivet Ruritan Club has been awarded a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! (PUP) Grant from The Harvest Foundation for improvements to the Randy Dove Baseball Field. 

The renovations will include construction of dugouts, improvements to parking and development of a walking trail at the field.

“The Mount Olivet Ruritan Club is looking forward to begin the improvements on the Randy Dove Baseball Field,” Michael McPeek, president of the Ruritan Club, stated in a news release from Harvest. “With new dugouts, the kids will no longer have to sit in the sun while waiting to take their turn at bat. With the paved path from our parking lot to the field, it will make access to the field easier for all ages. I would like to personally thank everyone involved for all their hard work in obtaining this grant so these improvements can be made to help our kids and our community.” 

Currently, Henry County Parks and Recreation holds about 25 games at the field, with more than 500 students at each event. It is located at the clubhouse on Ward Road off Virginia 57.

“Our local ball parks have been very popular community gathering places for years,” said Gladys Hairston, Harvest Foundation program associate. “The improvements to the Randy Dove Baseball Field will make this popular venue even more of a local amenity by improving the safety of the field and parking conditions. We are pleased to award this PUP! Grant to the Mt. Olivet Ruritans for this project. 

McPeek said in an interview Wednesday that the club has 90 days to complete the project. The work will be done by the parks and recreation department, which leases the field from the Ruritan Club for $1 a year, he added.

Eventually, McPeek said the club would like to add a picnic area and playground at the site. 

The Ruritan Club has 31 members and marked its 40th anniversary in 2012, he added.

According to member Becky Paris, the club’s ballfield is named for the late Randy Dove, who played baseball at Laurel Park High School and for the Martinsville-Henry County Oilers. Dove, the son of Ava Dove of the Dyers Store area and the late Fred Dove, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1977, Paris said. 

The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! small grants program is designed to engage more people and organizations in the transformation of Martinsville and Henry County. The goal is to encourage everyone to “pick up the pace” to make this a community of choice, according to the news release.

The Harvest Foundation was formed with the proceeds of the sale of Memorial Hospital in 2002. It invests in programs and initiatives to address local challenges in health, education, and community vitality.


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