Community effort helps refurbish Riverdale track - Quad-Cities Online: QC Prep Sports

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Community effort helps refurbish Riverdale track

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 8:51 pm | Updated: 4:34 pm, Wed Apr 30, 2014.

PORT BYRON -- As Doug Sand glanced at the Riverdale all-weather track a year ago, he noticed an aging surface held together by what he called a band-aid.

All the patchwork made it obvious that the track was outdated.

"Sooner or later, you can't keep putting a band-aid on it," Sand said. "We had to do something."

So, the community came together.

Hoping to refurbish the 13-year-old track, Riverdale created an 11-person committee to create and help fund the project. Nearly a year later, the school is celebrating the efforts of the community with a dedication ceremony during the Riverdale Invitational on Friday evening.

"It makes you proud to be part of community like this," Riverdale athletic director Scott Hemm said. "When we ask people to step up, they do."

At a time school districts are handcuffed by shrinking budgets, Riverdale proved improvements can be made when people come together.

"We had a lot of support," said Sand, a member of the track committee. "Everybody realized we needed to get this done. Without that support, we wouldn't be where we are today."

Backed by school district support, the committee found ways to cover the $83,000 it would take to complete the project. The Riverdale Booster Club provided the initial capital to secure a loan from a local bank. Sand said the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust also provided a grant in the project's early stages.

All the money allowed the refurbished track to be completed last August.

The key part to the project was patching all damaged areas and resealing the entire six-lane track. Once that was completed, it was re-striped and re-marked. On both ends of the track are new long and triple jump pits.

Now completed and ready for it's first meet, the track should get another 13 years on its life expectancy.More importantly, the school district can continue hosting meets for both the high school and middle school.

"Once you lose meets, it's hard to get them back," Sand said. "If we would have passed on this year's meets and picked them up later, we might have lost teams. You don't want to get out of that cycle."

A year ago, the fear of condemning the track was present.

"It had gone well beyond its years," Hemm said. There were parts you could pick up."

Considered a safety hazard at one point, pieces of the old track now are available for purchase. Another fundraising endeavor are commemorative bricks that will be engraved and placed near the complex.

The centerpiece of it all is the renovated track.

"It's awesome," Sand said. "It's really, really cool to see."

Track preview capsules

Rockridge Invitational (girls)

Where: Rockridge High School, Edgington

When: Today

Times: 4 p.m. (field events) and 6 p.m. (track events)

Teams: Erie-Prophetstown, Mid-County, Mercer County, Monmouth-Roseville, Ridgewood, Rockridge, United

Riverdale Invitational (coed)

Where: Riverdale High School, Port Byron

When: Friday

Times: 4:15 p.m. (field events) and 4:45 p.m. (track events)

Teams: Annawan-Wethersfield, Kewanee, Mid-County, Morrison, Orion, Riverdale, ROWVA, Stark County, Sterling Newman

Rock Island Invitational (girls)

Where: Public Schools Stadium, Rock Island

When: Saturday

Times: 10:30 a.m. (field events) and 11:30 a.m. (track events)

Teams: Alleman, Geneseo, Moline, Rock Island, United Township, Belvidere North, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lake Park, Machesney Park Harlem, Palatine Fremd, Pekin, Peoria High, Peoria Notre Dame, Peoria Richwoods, Sterling

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