It’s a sad thing to see tall grass and weeds having taken over Ed Skaneski Field.
The facility is named for the man who first brought it to life, laboring after work each evening to create a place for teens who otherwise had no other place to play baseball.
Eventually, Skaneski’s efforts even developed into a league for these youths, so it’s no wonder the city named the field for him years ago when it invested in some major upgrades.
It was a deserving honor — but now that honor is looking a bit tarnished.
We can’t blame the city. By all reports, the field now sees very little use, and for a financially distressed community to spend tax dollars maintaining a field that hosts no ballgames would be hard to justify.
But we’re wondering if other options might not exist.
One fell through at city council’s last caucus meeting, when an agenda item to consider a request from someone who wanted to lease and maintain the field was passed over because the request already had been withdrawn.
We think, though, of the United Way’s dogged efforts to resurrect the Cascade Park swimming pool — also city owned — despite the fact that after four years, no one has yet to take a plunge in it. But the promise of bringing back what was once a beloved city facility continues to drive the initiative.
Is there someone who might do the same for Skaneski Field? Even if no league or school district has use for it, restoring it and maintaining it to once again fulfill Skaneski’s vision — what local attorney Larry Kelly recalled from his teen years as “the last bastion of pick-up baseball” — certainly would be a worthwhile gift to the community.
And if the field’s shelf life as a baseball facility has expired, might there be other uses that, again, would pay homage to Ed Skaneski’s passion to bring joy to local youth? Perhaps a couple of picnic shelters and playground equipment could be arranged.
Maybe a local business or businesses would consider footing the cost of fitness equipment, such as that found along the Pearson Park walking trail. It would be interesting to hear what other ideas may be possible.
Because of its history and origins, the field rightfully bears the name of Ed Skaneski. But if it is allowed to become overgrown and unused, then the man’s memory becomes choked off along with it.
We encourage community members to consider what they might be able to do to help reclaim both.