The headline read “here's the pitch” as Ron Ouren, fundraising director, sought $3 million in private donations to build a new field on distant Cherry Hill to replace historic Legion Field at McEuen Field. Perhaps Ron, comfortable in retirement from his successful banking career, does not appreciate what is happening in Coeur d'alene.
The wrecking crew from Team McRuin will be destroying scenic McEuen baseball field that attracts thousands of baseball players to downtown businesses. Ron calls the new field, the field of dreams. Sorry, but the scenic fields at McEuen overlooking the lake were the “field of dreams.”
In 2009, charismatic Mike Kennedy stated, “I will always fight to keep legion baseball at McEuen Field.” On March 7th of this year, Mike forgot what he had once promised, and stated he will vote to remove the ball fields from McEuen.
Doug Eastwood, safe in his $96,000 a year park director job, spent countless hours on a propaganda campaign to various groups, never seeking public input. Did Doug ever give the public a fair pitch?
The Council was presented with over l,800 petitions asking that the ball fields remain where they were. Under the autocratic leadership of Mayor Bloom, they adamantly refused to allow a public advisory vote. Why? Because they knew they were going to lose. Two new council members, Steve Adams and Dan Gookin, were elected and opposed the closures. This amounted to a mandate of public opinion---- this was even ignored.
The city proceeded and spent $440,000 of your hard earned tax dollars to buy an isolated parcel on l5th street to replace what we already have.
Do we need a l,000 seat stadium? The bleachers at McEuen worked just fine, unless we are adding NIC baseball to the mix. Has anyone considered traffic problems such as the poor access going West on I-90 from l5th street?
In the near future you will be approached by well-paid professional fundraiser named Jim Faucher. Jim will be knocking on your door seeking 3 million for the new field.
As I stroll down East Sherman, I see at least 20 empty buildings. I never saw this when I moved here in the l970's. We didn't have a real homeless issue back then. We now have at least l,200 homeless people in this area.
Instead of giving your money to a $3 million baseball field, let me make some suggestions. The KROC, (763 0627) l765 W. Golf Course Rd, Cda, ID, 838l5, www.kroccda.org, provides l4,000 scholarships each year. The KROC activities could fill this whole article; they include seminars, plays, church, pre-school and fitness programs that benefit our community. There is a perceived misconception that because the KROC is such a beautiful facility, that they have no need for money. This is completely wrong, they need your donations.
St. Vincent DePaul, (208 664 3095) l08 E. Walnut, Cda, ID, 838l4, has many programs to put people back on their feet. At their 10-man shelter they offer training programs to get the men retrained and working again. I was impressed by the compassion that was extended to these men. They presented information about a cash paying job for the residents. They were there to help, not judge.
Union Gospel Mission, Box l224 E Trent, Spokane, 9920l, 509-535 8510, ugmspokane.org, needs your donations. By August they hope to complete a $8.5 million Coeur d' Alene facility with 80-l00 beds, as a home for women and their children. This is not a place for women to just get out of the rain. It is an intensive l8-24 month training program to get women back into society. This includes dealing with substance abuse issues, education, and life skills. What they have done to change lives is a miracle. They have collected approximately 80 percent of the needed money, which is entirely funded by private (not government) donations.
Where you spend your money, reflects the values that you have. In these economic times we cannot afford a ball field----this money could be spent on roads and schools.
Why donate your money to a baseball field that was crammed down your throat? When money pro Faucher comes knocking on your door with baseball in hand, I suggest that you make a donation to any of the above organizations, or to your own favorite charity.
Steve Bell is a Coeur d'Alene resident.