By Sarah Dallof
KEARNS — A struggling baseball field in Kearns has a fresh makeover thanks to the help of a Boy Scout.
On June 5 someone deliberately started a fire in a garbage can behind the snack shack. All that remained was a charred wooden shell.
The snack shack, at 4290 W. 4865 South, was used to raise money at every game to help maintain the field. But the community decided the season wasn't over.
Bruce Field dates back to World War II, when soldiers at Camp Kearns used to play on the land. When they left, neighborhood kids like Bob Anderson took it over.
"In those days it was the neighborhood, everybody in the neighborhood. If you didn't play ball here you just weren't part of us," Anderson said of growing up in the neighborhood.
Times change, and so did Bruce Field. With no public funding, the weeds grew as fast as the graffiti. Pony Baseball League President Leslie Dejong couldn't keep up.
"I put my heart into it, and it's hard to see it turned so bad from the weeds growing up to the disarray when the season is over," Dejong said.
When vandals burned down the snack shack, it seemed like the third strike for Bruce Field — that is until Lincoln Barlow stepped up to the plate. He focused his Boy Scout Eagle project on the field after seeing the story on the news. And on Saturday, volunteers built new bleachers, cleared weeds and picked up trash.
"It used to be a beautiful ballpark, and we're hoping to make it look like that again," said Barlow.
Usually just nine people are allowed on a field. Lincoln Barlow got 110 to show up — giving a struggling ball field and a struggling neighborhood another shot, another inning.
"It's pretty hard to have gang problems when everyone is playing ball," Anderson said.
There is still some work to be done. Volunteers are currently rebuilding the shack.
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