If you build it, they will come: Valley Little League, North Bend have big vision for Torguson Park

Traveling Washington with his son’s team, Snoqualmie Valley Little League President Roy Baunsgard watched boys play baseball among the rolling hills of the Yakima Valley and the wide horizons of Moses Lake. No place compared to home. Few vistas, he thought, had anything on the backdrop of Mount Si at the Little League’s home field, North Bend’s Torguson Park.

North Bend Council- man Jonathan Rosen

North Bend Council- man Jonathan Rosen

Traveling Washington with his son’s team, Snoqualmie Valley Little League President Roy Baunsgard watched boys play baseball among the rolling hills of the Yakima Valley and the wide horizons of Moses Lake. No place compared to home.

Few vistas, he thought, had anything on the backdrop of Mount Si at the Little League’s home field, North Bend’s Torguson Park.

Touring newer ballfields, Baunsgard was also struck by their modern facilities, bleachers and concession stands. The decades-old four-plex of ballfields at Torguson, meanwhile, were showing their age.

Bent and bowed, “these backstops had served their time,” Baunsgard said. The Valley is growing, but facilities weren’t keeping up with the growing league, which begins registration this month.

So, about a year ago, Baunsgard hit on a plan. He wanted to turn Torguson Park into a showplace, a modern park where the league could host big baseball tournaments, under the face of Mount Si. Then he put the plan into action. Baunsgard’s idea has gone from a diagram on a napkin to a master plan at North Bend City Hall.

It didn’t take long for Little League officials to realize that their wish list—modern backstops and dugouts, a centralized restroom and concession stand—encompassed more work, including a new water and sewer line, than they alone could fund. The league turned to the city, working with planning staff and city Councilman Jonathan Rosen.

Official consideration began with the North Bend parks commission, which made changes to the park element of the city’s comprehensive plan. The council is expected to adopt the plan in April.

The city had its own ideas for Torguson Park, so the league’s plan had to mesh. The league will pay for its $60,000 ballfield fix while the city is working on grants for a new walking path and exercise stations around the park, a gathering plaza by the parking lot, and new access to the growing neighborhoods to the east.

Little League and the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer Association both partner with the city from time to time on improvements to local fields. The league’s Majors field got a re-do last summer. The new upgrade is a bigger version of that club-city partnership.

“When it’s done, it’s going to be the nicest baseball park in the Valley, if not beyond,” Baunsgard said.

The new restroom/concession stand, which will be similar to Si View’s or Centennial Fields’ building, is the biggest change.

The current building, shadowed by a stand of trees at the far side of Field Four, “is not usable for most parents,” said SVLL Scheduler Troy Garwood. “You can’t see it. With the transient population, you don’t send anybody under 12 to the bathroom if you can’t see them.” Besides, he adds, nobody’s going to get a hot dog if they have to walk 200 yards and miss a big play.

“Every good baseball field (has) a center hub,” explains Baunsgard. “It’s family oriented. Everybody can hang out in the middle. It’s a group gathering spot.”

Without a central hub, “The game slows down,” said Rosen. “Here, they’re in and out in seconds. It’s much safer.”

To Rosen, the work will add a much-needed layer of polish to the field. And the partnership, he said, offers a lot of “bang for the buck.”

Surveying and design will come this summer, with work starting next fall. The league will be fundraising for the project this year, in a campaign inspired by North Bend Theatre’s successful $100,000 digital projector campaign.

“Little League is a trademark in this city,” said Garwood, who expects big local support.

With growth in the city, and hotels being planned, Baunsgard sees big things in a better baseball field.

“We’re primed to prepare that place for a lot of fun,” he said.

Learn more about SVLL at http://www.svll.net/home.php.

An artist’s vision of the new four-plex baseball field at North Bend’s Torguson Park, including dugouts, a central concession stand and restroom. Image courtesy Tom Phillips.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of the Northwest Railway Museum
Northwest Railway Museum: Train rides and shed update

The Northwest Railway Museum is happy to announce that winter train rides… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Social media site Parler returns after registering with Sammamish company

The right-wing social media website is not being hosted by Epik, but registered its domain.

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

A landslide in December 2019 created a crack in this Fall City road, allowing for a one lane entry and exit. Courtesy of King County Road Services
Landslide risk in the Snoqualmie Valley

Rains have pelted King County in recent weeks, saturating the soil and… Continue reading

Most Read