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ALMOST THERE: Gould says dugouts, fundraising nearly done

The new dugouts at Jack Brown Stadium are nearly done. In baseball terms, fundraising efforts are in the bottom of the ninth. Originally pegged to cost about $250,000, the final number has turned into a bit of a moving target. Jeff Gould, lead or...

Work continues on the new dugouts at Jack Brown Stadium. They are expected to be completed by April 1. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Work continues on the new dugouts at Jack Brown Stadium. They are expected to be completed by April 1. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The new dugouts at Jack Brown Stadium are nearly done.

In baseball terms, fundraising efforts are in the bottom of the ninth.

Originally pegged to cost about $250,000, the final number has turned into a bit of a moving target. Jeff Gould, lead organizer and fundraiser of the project, is determined to hit the mark, which likely will come in at about $300,000. Tax-deductible donations can still be made. They can be sent to Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department, c/o Bonnie Ukestad, 1002 Second Ave. SE, Jamestown, N.D., 58401. In the memo line include: Dugouts.

"We're going to get there ... we're almost there," said Gould, grandson of the man for whom the ballpark is named. "Some things came in a little higher, which happens. It's really exciting to see the progress and how close they are to being done. It's a major improvement to that great old ballpark."

The final fundraising push is for the finishing touches, primarily sod, paint, primer, poles, chicken wire and other miscellaneous items. The dugouts themselves, built entirely by Jamestown construction firms, will be completed by April 1.

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The new dugouts will be 12 feet longer and four feet wider than before. The all-cement structures also features benches, bat barrels, helmet racks, white boards, bulletin boards, foam-padded railings and electrical outlets every 6 feet. Additionally, an entirely new drainage system has been installed.

It's been a major undertaking for Gould, a Jamestown native, who lives in Fargo. There have been numerous trips back and forth, including one just last week where he secured $15,000 from the

Jamestown Tourism Grant and Executive Advisory Board.

"It's been a lot more work than I thought it would be," Gould said. "I never thought it'd be easy. Doing things like this never are. There's been a lot of time on the road, don't get me wrong, I love going home. I've gotten to see the progress incrementally that's been made and meet a lot of different people. In the end, it's absolutely been worth it."

The project has been unique in that there have been large contributors, but also smaller donations from places far and wide. So far, there have been 191 total donors, covering 15 states and 51 cities.

"That part's been really awesome. We're getting donations from all over the place and from people I didn't know before this. We've gotten donations from so many places I never thought we would, now it's like, 'Do I know anybody in a different country or on a different planet?'" Gould said. "I don't know anybody on Venus or Mars, but if I did, I'd call and hit them up."

The money was raised in less than six months and all of the primary users of the ballpark pitched in.

"The college and high school stepped up. The Legion, amateur baseball, youth baseball in town all stepped up," Gould said. "I want to thank the Park Board for their help ... Jamestown Tourism was great to work with. And obviously all the people that sent money in. That ballpark means a lot to so many people, a lot of people I didn't know before this, and that's pretty cool."

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Gould's reverence for the ballpark is obvious. His father Tom remains a one-man ground's crew that still makes the old yard sparkle on spring and summer afternoons. But it's the generosity of so many that made the project truly a success.

"Most of the guys that donated were ex-players of my dad and they gave because they knew it was important to him, not because my sister (Tessa) or I asked," Jeff said. "A lot of people came together to make improvements to a very special place."

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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