Little League stung by fire

Youth baseball and softball organization loses Melvin Park concessions stand

Posted: Friday, June 23, 2006

When the concession stand at Melvin Park burned down early Monday morning, the flames touched more than just a building.

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During spring and summer afternoons, the concession stand served players and fans alike with sodas, water, candy, sunflower seeds and all the items typically associated with softball and baseball.

The money raised by selling snacks also helped the non-profit Gastineau Channel Little League keep going.

"It's one of our money makers," GCLL President Keitha Kolvig said. "We have those two state tournaments coming up and now we don't have the use of it."

The GCLL relies on concessions for revenue, which helps pay for umpires, travel, equipment and keeping the registration fees low.

GCLL secretary Jeff Duvernay estimated the Melvin Park facility brought in between $5,000 and $6,000 annually. In addition to losing revenue, the stand also had a refrigerator that would be stocked with water for the players on hot days.

"That concession stand is important to us," Duvernay said. "Those fields are our busiest fields. Our entire softball program and junior and softball baseball programs play there. With the concession stand, we could provide refreshments and food to keep them (the players) going."

The league also uses concession stands at Miller Park and Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The loss of the GCLL-owned concession stand at Melvin, however, is a blow to the league's revenue.

Where to help

The Gastineau Channel Little League is a non-profit organization and accepts donation. more information can be found at www.eteamz.com/gcllak/

"That revenue is definitely necessary to keep it going," league treasurer Bobbie Jo Gharing said. "Any revenue coming in helps keep it alive and helps make it the best organization we can for the kids."

In addition to the loss of the concession stand, Gharing said the fire left the next door bathrooms inoperable.

Melvin Park is set to host Alaska Little League major and junior softball state championships next month. It will also host the regional junior baseball tournament in mid-July.

"What we're going to do is come up with a temporary arrangement but we haven't decided what that would be yet," Duvernay said. "We'll have something set up over there."

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com



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