Ruritan Explained

Bless their hearts, how can they get it wrong so often.

The News Herald ran a story on the Eaton Ruritan Community Park in their last issue. The point of the article was to tell how the park may end. That much they got right. But their story began by reporting that the park's "deed" will expire in two months. I have no idea what that means nor where they got that information.

The Eaton Ruritan Community Park was established in 1973. For forty years, the park has provided community based little league recreational T-Ball, Baseball and softball programs. The park was the largest youth sports organization in Loudon County for many years. The park/program has been managed all those years by parent volunteers. I have been one of those volunteers for the last 24 years.

Last fall, I informed the Ruritan Club members that the 2013 season would be my last year to serve on the park committee. Subsequently, the other members of the park committee, who like myself, have served for many years, also decided 2013 would be their last year to serve on the committee.

At the beginning of the 2013 season, we made our retirements known to those who attended the park to play ball. Our hope was that some new, younger, eager parents would step up to take our places to continue the program. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet. If no one or no other organization comes forward to take over the program, it will end.

Now, back to the News Herald story. Like I said, I have no idea what the deed expiring thing is. Back in 1973 when the club was establishing the park, the decision was made to give the property to Loudon County in an effort to apply for a HUD grant to develop the park. That move was successful. A grant was received from HUD that helped develop the original park. Mostly, it paid for the fence that was placed around the original seven and a half acre park.

When the Ruritan Club gave the land to Loudon County, one clause in the deed stated that if the park ever ceased to be a community park, the land would revert back to the club. Now that it seems almost certain that the park will no longer be used as a community park, we, the club, have asked the county to honor the deed clause and allow the land to come back to the club. We feel our ability to negotiate a long term solution for the park facility would be much easier if the land were back in our possession.

It is kind of sad to see such a great program come to an end but I guess as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

On a personal note, I have truly enjoyed my years serving on the park committee. It has allowed me to get to know lots and lots of people. But I must now end my time at the park. I appreciate all the great folks I have had the pleasure of working with for these many years. Let me also put an end to some of the speculation that's been going around out there.

As far as I know, I do not have a terminal illness, at least I hope not. I am not mad at anybody, there's no financial problems. I'm just old, I've been doing this for a long time and I'm just at a point in life where I'm trying to cut back on things I have to do. And finally, if not now, when should I retire? I couldn't do it forever.

I'll keep you posted as events develop.