Coon Field, a Kodiak sports landmark, will have a different look for the upcoming Little League season.
The gravel field on the corner of Mill Bay Road and Powell Avenue that has been part of Kodiak since the 1950s is being covered in grass — or at least the infield is.
The City of Kodiak Parks and Recreation department started laying sod on the historic surface last week. The crew was out in the rain on Wednesday adding grass down the left-field line and patching up the infield.
The project recently came to the forefront when Kodiak Little League asked parks and recreation to expand the infield at Dark Lake Field to accommodate the league’s new intermediate division.
Corey Gronn, parks director, didn’t want the pulled up sod from Dark Lake to go to waste, so he decided to place it on Coon Field. He said there is only enough sod to cover the infield, but did not rule out covering the outfield with grass in the future.
“We are trying to repurpose something that ultimately if we didn’t repurpose would have gone to the trash,” Gronn said. “I think it is going to give Coon Field a better look.”
Woody Way Field was known as “The Sandbox” until parks and recreation covered the field with grass in the late 2000s. The field is now used for various high school and parks and recreation sports.
Because the Coon Field project wasn’t planned, Gronn didn’t have time to look into any potential drainage problems that could be caused by installing grass over the gravel surface.
“We didn’t update any of the drainage at this time, but that is something we are going to be looking into,” he said.
Coon Field played home to the 1982 Kodiak Major Little League all-star team that won the state title and came within two victories of playing in the Little League World Series.
The field is named after Carl Paul Coon, a Kodiak Little Leaguer who died at the age of 12 after falling off a 100-foot cliff at Miller Point at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park in 1959. His name is displayed on the back of the first-base dugout.
Gronn said nobody has complained about covering up the gravel that nearly every Kodiak Little Leaguer has played on.
“There was a lot of people asking what was going on, but when we explained it to them everybody seemed to like the idea,” Gronn said.
Derek Clarkston is a staff writer at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact him at (907) 486-3227, ext. 625.