Washougal dreams of new field

Baseball parents hopeful as city applies for state funding

Coaches Dan Gibbons and Matt Neumann talk to their team, the East County Little League Squirrels, of Washougal, after a game Saturday, Sept. 15, at Schmid Field #2, in Washougal.

City of Washougal leaders hope that construction of a third baseball field in the George J. Schmid Memorial Fields complex will receive state funding. The Schmid Fields Phase 3 project would also include the addition of restrooms, picnic tables and lighting for all three fields.

East County Little League Squirrels, of Washougal, await their turn in the dugout to bat in a game with the Cascade Little League Yankees, of Vancouver, Saturday, Sept. 15, at Schmid Field #2, in Washougal.

A new baseball field, restrooms and lighting at Washougal’s George J. Schmid Memorial Fields, in Washougal, are included in the city’s proposed 2019 budget.

The project is ranked high enough to receive funding in the amount of $350,000 from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office Youth Athletic Facilities (YAF) grant program, and the city has applied for $500,000 from the Washington Wildlife Recreation Program.

The total project cost is $2.26 million.

Washougal City Administrator David Scott said the city would have to come up with $1.4 million if it receives the $850,000 in grants.

“If we only get one (grant), we’d need to come up with more,” Scott said. “We will pursue this as part of the state capital budget, look to local fundraising and other possible opportunities, including maybe naming rights.”

Grant results will be announced in October, with construction estimated to begin in 2020.

The Schmid Fields complex, located by the Washougal School District Office, at 4855 Evergreen Way, Washougal, includes one baseball/softball field, another baseball field and a third field that is used for T-ball games involving younger children.

Shane Clayton, of Washougal, said adding a third, playable field is a great idea.

“The area is growing,” he said while watching his son, Zachary, 11, play shortstop for the East County Little League Squirrels, Saturday, Sept. 15, on Schmid Field #2. “When we’re here, there’s a lot going on.”

Clayton added that he is always in favor of more restrooms. Currently, there are three portable bathroom facilities parked by the Schmid fields.

Daleasha Hall, mother of Squirrels’ pitcher, Silas Hall, 9, said having a third baseball field is “much needed.”

She said “thank you,” when asked about the addition of restrooms.

The Halls moved from Eugene, Oregon, to Washougal almost two years ago. Daleasha said the additions and improvements to the Schmid complex will help attract tournaments to the Washougal fields.

After the game with the Cascade Little League Yankees, of Vancouver, Squirrels’ coaches Dan Gibbons and Matt Neumann told their players in a huddle what they did well and areas they could improve in. The Squirrels are excited to hear they have a future game under the lights at Forest Home Park, in Camas.

In a post-game interview, Neumann said the addition of a third, playable Schmid baseball field could make Washougal a destination spot for additional athletic competitions.

Gibbons said a third field would help the East County Little League, which benefits from sales of snacks at the concessions stand.