Everyone who had something to do with the latest round of improvements to Torguson Park — ball field updates, a new restroom and concessions building and a walking trail — joined in the cutting of the ribbon to celebrate Thursday, Sept. 14 at the park. (Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo)

North Bend cuts the ribbon on updated ballfields, other improvements at Torguson Park

Turf fields, a new concessions stand, a walking trail, and the removal of the explosion-damaged storage building were all celebrated as improvements in North Bend’s Torguson Park Sept. 14.

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.

Guests were served hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by the Snoqualmie-North Bend Police Department and made guesses as to the completed distance covered by the new trail. Two winners, David Olson and Logan Litsjo, were tied for the best guess. The answer was .56 miles.

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.

Long-range plans for the park include 75,000 feet of basketball courts and parking for 100-to 200 vehicles, plus, in the near term, a new pedestrian entry to the park, when construction begins on the Phoenix Plaza, a residential and retail project on North Bend Way.

North Bend Public Works Director Mark Rigos points out the game to guess the length of the new walking trail, one of the latest park improvements celebrated Sept. 14 at North Bend’s Torguson Park. (Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo)

North Bend City Councilman Jonathan Rosen, an advocate of the Torguson Park improvements since they were first proposed, had the honor of throwing out the first pitch Thursday. (Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo)

Snoqualmie Police Explorers helped stock a cookout in celebration of the Torguson Park improvements. (Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo)

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