O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc., a Berkeley-based construction firm, partnered with KNBR 680/1050 Am Radio to select a local ballfield to be renovated, and the lucky winner is the Eastridge Little League Field in San Jose.
Jerry N. Soriano, Eastridge Little League President for the 2010 Season, is amazed that Eastridge was selected as the winner. He says he feels “…a sense of real pride and appreciation underscored by a sense of disbelief and surprise.”
O.C. Jones will renovate a currently substandard field that will allow Eastridge to field softball teams and younger boys’ teams. The work will consist of complete removal and reconstruction of the existing field, new irrigation, sod, infield, and associated work. O.C. Jones will also address the needs of the dugouts, fences, bleachers, backstop and regrade an adjacent unused lot to create a warm-up and practice area.
This effort began in October, when it was announced that O.C. Jones would sponsor the TLC for Kids Ballparks contest through KNBR as a demonstration of its commitment to local neighborhoods and an interest in improving the area where its employees work and live.
Entrants submitted an essay and photos to nominate their community ballpark or field. Each month, finalists were selected and announced.
Kelly Kolander, president and CEO of O.C. Jones, says he is eager for the work to begin. “Sponsoring the TLC for Kids Ballparks has been a way for all of us at O.C. Jones to give back,” he says. “Our employees are also getting involved with the project, recognizing that there is always a way to help others in our local community.”
Eastridge Little League is comprised of both girls softball and boys baseball, from T-Ball through Majors. Participants, which range in age from 4 to 18, are primarily from working class Hispanic-American families. More than 240 children are expected to play in Eastridge Little League this year.
Eastridge is self sufficient for its seasonal needs and raises funds through registration fees, concessions, fund raisers, sponsorships, donations, and grants. Their projected revenue and expense for this year is over $30,000, but field access and maintenance is always a challenge. Eastridge must apply to reserve use of city parks and elementary and high school fields for baseball practice, as well as secure local fields for scheduled games during the season.
Frank Navarro, Eastridge Little League Secretary/Information Officer, says, “To see the league get such a great opportunity is something that really strikes close to home. My family has been involved in Eastridge Little League for over 30 years. My stepfather and his two brothers played here. My brother and all of my cousins have played here. My stepfather, his father, one of his brothers, a cousin of mine and I either are coaching or have coached in the league. Eastridge Little League has many families that have been with our league for decades. Ninety percent of our board has been with Eastridge for at least 20 years.”
Weather permitting, O.C. Jones will begin work within the next couple of weeks, and plan to be finished by mid-March so Eastridge will be able to use the field for Opening Day.
O. C. Jones & Sons, Inc. traces its start to 1924, when Olin Clement Jones founded a small concrete placing firm in Berkeley. Olin specialized in transporting and placing a new product, later to be known as ready-mixed concrete. Following WW II, Olin was joined by his sons, Harold and Robert, and the company expanded into new work disciplines and increased its geographical reach.
Today, O.C. Jones specializes in public and private heavy civil work, focusing on paving, grading, and underground. Satellite offices encircle the greater Bay Area in Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Vallejo, and Oakland, enabling us to build major highways, airport runways, athletic fields, and large-scale site developments.
O.C. Jones has successfully completed numerous athletic field projects, including San Jose State University Spartan Stadium, Santa Rosa Junior College, Foothill College, DeAnza College, Crocker Amazon Fields (San Francisco), Stanford University, Tak Fudenna Memorial Stadium, Palo Alto and Gunn High Schools, and many other high schools and middle schools.