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Saratoga County highway chiefs give Double H its ‘Field of Dreams’

By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor

The Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne has a new kickball “field of dreams” courtesy of the Saratoga County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

In four days, the highway chiefs tore up the grass, installed a sprinkler system, laid down sod donated by Saratoga Sod Farm and installed a clay infield.

“The clay makes it easier for campers in wheelchairs to play,” said T.J. Roode, development coordinator at Double H, a camp providing free vacations for critically ill children.

Double H added lights, so the field can now also be used at night. “We use it mostly for kickball, and another outdoor program space,” said Mr. Roode.

South Glens Falls DPW supervisor T.J. Chagnon said he was proud to be involved in the field facelift.

“Something like this is hard to top,” he said. “We wish we could be up there to see the faces of the kids, but we can just imagine the smiles…It’s got to be exciting for them. I’m glad to be a part of the group. It’s a good feeling to donate your time and see tangible results.”

The Saratoga County Highway Superintendents has helped at Double-H for a quarter-century. “It’s been a phenomenal partnership,” said Double H executive director Max Yurenda.

Mr. Roode said, “They started giving money in 1995. I think in the first year, they gave $1,000. Over the years they have donated $230,000 in funding, which is incredible, and five years ago they said they wanted to come up and do a project.”

Double H Ranch executive director Max Yurenda opened the updated Woodly Field with a ceremonial first kick. Double H Ranch photos

They’ve cleared brush from the waterfront, built a retaining wall and new parking lot, and built a road to the camp’s “outdoor extreme” area.

Mr. Roode said, “They never want to be acknowledged, and this year [Town of Ballston highway superintendent] Joe Whalen said they wanted to redo [Woodly] field,” named after Charles Wood, the late Great Escape entrepreneur who started Double H with the actor Paul Newman.

Double H says of the highway chiefs, “These folks don’t want to just give you a check. They want to get dirty. They are amazing to work with, and we like that we actually get to meet them…

“We like to build partnerships that build relationships like we have done with this group. And we’re always looking for other groups.”

Info: 518-696-5676 or doublehranch.org.

Some of the highway superintendents and vendors who helped renovate Double H’s Field of Dreams. From left: Dave Costanzo (Galway); president Joe Whalen (Ballston); T.J. Chagnon (South Glens Falls); Walt Barss (Greenfield); Paul Joseph (Moreau); John Pingelski (Halfmoon); Dave McBurnie (Viking-Cives); Donna Shave (Dig Safe NY 811); Bill Shave (Northern Supply) and Mark Minick (Stillwater). Double H Ranch photo

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