Good fences make good neighbors, the old proverb goes, and it’s proven to be true in Old Forge.
Eagle McClure Hose Co. Field has become a busy place these last few years thanks to the popularity of Triboro Youth Soccer.
With that constant activity has come a commitment from the hose company to ensure the safety of all players and visitors.
Last year, Eagle McClure installed a new safety fence that now provides a clear demarcation between the soccer field and the parking lot.
Eagle McClure financed the project through a combination of private donations and public funding. But now they’ve been paid back, at least in part.
A few weeks ago, Triboro Youth Soccer presented the hose company with an $8,000 check from the Lackawanna County Community Re-invest Program.
The fence, which was installed by Built to Last Fence Co. in Old Forge and cost just under $15,000, was also financed through substantial donations from Kearney Funeral Homes, Pagnotti Enterprises, LT Verrastro, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., attorney George Seig, Alliance Landfill and the hose company itself.
According to Carl Orechovsky, building and grounds manager for Eagle McClure, the 325-foot fence prevents players from chasing balls into the parking area when balls sail over the nets, and controls access to the field.
“So many kids have started playing soccer there over the last few years,” said Orechovsky, who has been taking care of the field for the past 28 years. “The parking lot became like an interstate highway. The kids were chasing the balls into the parking lot. The horns would be blowing. That set me to thinking that we had to do something about that.”
He said the project took about two years in total. The hose company paid for everything up front, then placed any incoming donations into its maintenance fund.
“The donations came in really quick,” Orechovsky said. “It worked out pretty good for us.”
The fence was installed in July, just before the start of the soccer season. Built to Last “did a very good job on it,” said Orechovsky, noting the fence stands 6-feet high in most spots, and 10 feet in parts where balls fly the highest.
The feedback on the fence has been overwhelmingly positive, Orechovsky said.
“It cleaned up the area nicely, too,” said Orechovsky, who with the fence’s installation was able to move some guardrails to the back side of the parking lot.
The fence marks several improvements made to the field in recent years — a list that includes the installation of lights for night games.
Two or three years down the road, Orechovsky would love to see the hose company build another soccer field. However, because of the excavation involved, it will take a significant fundraising effort.
“That’s going to be a really big project. Probably near $1 million. But I’d love to see that done,” he said.
Orechovsky said he never could have imagined how much the field would improve and evolve over the years. The safety fence is just one more in a series of triumphs.
“It’s a good benefit to the community,” he said. “Something that will be there long after I’m gone.”