A few raindrops fell on the crowd of about 100 people celebrating the completion of Torguson Park improvements last Thursday, but spirits were high until North Bend Public Works Director Mark Rigos started talking baseball.
Rigos first thanked a long list of people who had contributed to making the project, three years in the works, happen. These included City Planner Mike McCarty, Public Works Office Coordinator Carrie Smith, landscape architect Scott Holsapple, Rodarte Construction, John Day Homes, Si View Park Operations Manager Dave Dembeck, as well as the Si View Park Board and staff, and Sno-Valley Little League, all of whom contributed to the creation and maintenance of the improvements.
Then, he said, “I guarantee this project would not have happened without Jonathan Rosen.” North Bend City Councilman Jonathan Rosen had been a tireless advocate of the updates, especially to the ballfields, since the project started.
“But he’s a Yankees fan,” Rigos added, and the crowd groaned.
They recovered enough to hear Rigos out on future improvements to the park, too, including a future “pump track,” a course with varying degrees of elevation, allowing riders to navigate the track without pedaling.
Rosen’s dedication to the $1.6 million project to expand the fields, improve drainage and add turf, build a restrooms and concessions building, and build a looping trail through the park, earned him the honor of throwing out the first pitch after cutting the ribbon on the new and improved Torguson Park.
Caleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office also spoke at the ribbon cutting. Some of the funding for the park project came from her office, via the U.S. Congress, she said, adding “See, good things do come out of Olympia!”
She urged the audience to thank their state and federal legislators for the funding, and congratulated the city on the project.
Torguson Park is North Bend’s largest park.
The project is funded by a $127,250 grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a donation of $80,000 from Little League, an $87,000 insurance claim for damages from a nearby gas explosion in 2014 and city funds of approximately $1.3 million.