The turf will have to wait at Legion Memorial Field and Bill Gray Stadium.

The field that houses Roseburg High School baseball in the spring and American Legion baseball in the summer, will remain a grass field through the 2019 summer baseball season.

Legion baseball officials said the artificial turf project will be put off until after the Legion baseball season is completed and they expect the project to begin no later than Aug. 1 to begin the excavation. Officials said the weather has put a damper on trying to get it done in time for spring baseball, so it will have to wait until the dry weather in the summer after the Legion baseball season is completed.

“We’re putting it off because of the conditions, so we’ll start no later than Aug. 1,” said Jeff Admire, Legion Baseball commissioner in charge of the turf project.

Tom Donegan, chairman of the Legion board, said there were a few hangups, and agreed that weather has been a big issue this year.

“If you do it when it’s wet, you’re hauling mud, but when it’s dry you don’t have that problem,” said Tom Donegan .

Meanwhile, several other projects are being completed to update facilities and improve the looks of the park and they should be ready for the start of the high school season in mid-March.

“The dugouts are being remodeled and repaired, they really needed to be enhanced a little,” Donegan said.

“With Victory Builders’ magic carried over from Disney World, they offered to give us some real nice pro dugouts,” Admire said.

Victory Builders offered to give the dugouts a facelift and mad them into a dual bench style, with more protective fences to protect from balls going into the dugout.

Netting behind home plate will also be replaced when the turf is installed and cracks that have formed in granite on the side of the stadium where weeds had begun to grow through, are being filled in to spruce up the backside of the bleachers. They are also making some improvements in the field house and the umpire’s dressing rooms.

Admire said Roseburg Forest Products donated 70 sheets of plywood to repair the outfield fence and the the new Legion baseball coach Jeremiah Robbins, who is also the Umpqua Community College baseball coach, got his players to help put up the plywood on the fence.

“Along with some Legion commissioners, they got together and tore down the old and put up the new in the same day,” Admire said.

Fortunately, Steve Winters of Wintergreen Nursery, who has maintained the grass field for the last 20 years, has continued to work on the natural turf to have it ready in case the artificial turf was not ready for this spring.

Admire said the community support for the Legion baseball program has been tremendous, as it has been since the program began in the middle of the last century.

“It’s been great, and the in-kind stuff will be huge,” Admire said. “We’re probably looking at 4 to 500 loads of dirt and gravel that need to come out of here and then come back in, and the mills have stepped up and just a lot of baseball lovers helped out.”

Legion officials say the turf project will happen, but won’t see it’s first games until the college fall baseball begins in September, and it should be ready to go for Roseburg High and UCC baseball in the spring of 2020.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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