Baseball’s return is part of a bigger picture for Douglas Park

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ROCK ISLAND - A historic park saw its first game in a very long time.

Tuesday night, Rock Island High School playes Alleman High school at Douglas Park, in Rock Island.

"As facilities, have developed elsewhere, the teams have kind of gone away, so as we`re bringing things back here. We`re starting to see the teams come back," said Parks and Recreation Director, John Gripp.

Over the past couple years Rock Island has been working to fix up Douglas Park. From creating a non-profit group to raise money, to building a community playground, to eventually building a multi-use field, parking lot and concession stand.

Bringing purpose to the park again is important to fans like Donald Long, "I used to play ball here probably for 10-12 years."

The renovations are also preserving a piece of history. The very first National Football league game was played at Douglas Park in 1920.

"It`s a very significant park not only for the history, but for the location. I mean it`s an entry point to our city. We need to make it look as beautiful as we can. We need make it attractive for not only sporting events, but also the community," said Gripp.

Outside of sports there's also a plan to turn a former fire station at the park into a museum.

"I think it's going to do something for the whole city of Rock Island. It's going to be more of an attraction," said Alderman Ivory Clark.

These plans have allowed Long to watch his grandson play ball where he once used to, "I think it`s great. They really fixed it up nice."

The city says the playground should be finished by June.

Money is still being raised for the other projects.


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