Community Rallies to Rebuild Waterhouse Field

posted May 9, 2017, 12:29 PM by Karen Chasse

Volunteers to take down condemned bleachers on Saturday, May 13th

On Saturday, May 13th from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. volunteers are being summoned to help take down the condemned bleachers at Waterhouse Field, as well as other tasks to re-build and prepare for opening the field this Fall.  Following a public forum of priority improvements needed at multiple fields in Biddeford, Waterhouse Field Alumni Association President Jim Godbout put a call out to anyone interested in volunteering.   Facebook and web metrics show that thousands of people have been reached by Jim’s call, and based on community feedback, there is an expected turnout north of 300 volunteers from both sides of the river.

“Both the City of Biddeford and the School Department are grateful for Jim Godbout's ability to rally the troops on this effort,” said City of Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant.  “The citizens have voiced that they want to be involved and with Jim at the helm, we are confident we will see volunteerism come back to life. It is is going to take the entire community to come together to make this a fiscally responsible process. Jim has extensive contacts throughout Southern Maine and is a well-respected leader who gives selflessly to make Biddeford/Saco a better community.  He is the epitome of volunteerism and inspires others to give back.”  

The priority improvements noted for Waterhouse Field included: equitable field for all sports, new bleachers, new lighting and new press box. The press box was taken down last week and remains salvageable for re-install on the new bleachers.

Superintendent Jeremy Ray said that preliminary contractor quotes for demolition and removal were upwards of $40,000.  “This is a savings to the taxpayer, and a great build of momentum toward providing our kids facilities akin to those in Saco, Waterboro, and other neighboring communities.  We look forward to a continued partnership with Jim, the city, and our amazing volunteers to repair and modernize our fields.”

“Fortunately I am in a position to make things happen whereas City government has proper channels to work through,” stated Jim Godbout. “I am hopeful my actions will allow us to move forward with playing sports in the Fall.  Our community needs to be working collaboratively without negativity and should be supportive of City leadership. This is about volunteering - a positive influence of sacrifice which I learned so much about from the silent generation.  We should all learn what sacrifice does to build community and whatever future improvements we make, will be made by our local leadership and community support.”

Ray added, “Jim is a dedicated community servant the likes of which I've not seen in my 40 years in Maine.  He was recognized as Biddeford’s 2016 ‘Pillars of Pride’ Recipient because he is exactly that - a reliable, supporter to reinforce and promote the positive in our community. His work in projects ranging from the Rotary House to Red Ribbon Week to his service on the Waterhouse Commission are second-to-none.  He is a doer, and he gets results.  He has energized the community and we feel blessed to have Jim's passion and commitment in our Waterhouse effort. The entire school community is sincerely grateful for his contributions.”

An online volunteer site has been established.  All volunteers should sign-up to assist with pre-planning of assignments.  It can accessed on the Biddeford School Department website/Waterhouse Field page or via the Waterhouse Field Renovation Facebook page.  All skill levels are encouraged to participate, with the exception of children K-8 for safety reasons, and volunteers must sign a waiver prior to working.  Parking will being across the street at the JFK school, and overflow parking will be on adjacent neighborhood streets, akin to a Friday night football game.  If community members are unable to attend but would like to make a financial contribution to the project, please visit the Waterhouse Field webpage or call Karen Chasse at 207-391-6885.