EAST PROVIDENCE — About a year in the making, the renovation of the East Providence High softball field on the school grounds cleared one of its final significant hurdles last weekend with the installation of a chain link fence surrounding the diamond.
Long-time Townies’ head coach Rob Traverse spurred the project, which began with his vision some 12 months ago when cuts to transportation in the athletic budget were initially proposed last spring.
For the last several years, East Providence has used Pierce Field as its home and a bus was required to get the Townies there from the high school. Budget cuts, however, made busing to home games an unnecessary expense, prompting the coach to think about the viability of refurbishing the diamond at the school, a field the Townies have used only for practice in recent springs.
Since that time, Coach Traverse, his assistant Brian Petsch, several players, parents and athletic boosters in the city have worked diligently to remake the softball field at the school into a varsity-viable facility. To date, supporters of the program have raised over $22,000 through donations, gifts and grants for the project.
The installation of the fence was a noteworthy piece of the puzzle, adding to two roofed, cinderblock dugouts built late last year by local contractor John Soares as well as construction students in the class of teacher Tom Galligan at the East Providence Career & Tech School. Coach Traverse also purchased a temporary fence for the outfield boundary, which stretches from foul pole to foul pole and can be removed so as not to interfere with other athletic activities nearby.
The chainlink fence, with a retail cost of $3,000, was donated by The Home Depot Inc. as part of its community relations initiative, “Team Depot.” Kate Robertson, Annette Caban and Scott Talbot of the Home Depot location in Seekonk were among those volunteers on hand last weekend to install the fence.
Ms. Robertson, an assistant store manager, was the point person working with Coach Traverse on securing the donation. She also credited city native Tony DaSilva, like herself an assistant store manager, and Greg Laviere, the construction sales desk coordinator, for their help during the process.
“I was in contact with headquarters in Atlanta. I submitted the information about the project and why we should help, and they made the decision from there,” Ms. Robertson explained. “Home Depot is really great about reaching out and helping these types of projects in the community.”
The Townies’ softball program is certainly grateful for the aid. The fence is now in place and the dugouts, including storage closets in each, will be completed in time for East Providence’s first Division I league game of the season on April 8 against Smithfield if not sooner.
“Obviously this is a huge help to us,” Coach Traverse said. “We’ve gotten support from a lot of people, whether it’s Tom Galligan and his construction class at the Career & Tech, John Andrade from Exxon-Mobil and CityWorks, which donated the (fence) posts, John Soares Construction, our state representatives and people in the city and a very generous group of parents, players and volunteers. It’s been great.”