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It’s almost time for rugby at FairPoint Field.

Ellensburg Youth Rugby has a new sign up from Fast Lane Signs and goal posts donated by the USA Rugby Foundation in the ground where an underutilized baseball field lies at 101 N Lincoln St. in West Ellensburg Park, but “a pretty horrible month of rain” in November delayed hopes of getting it backfilled before winter.

“I’d say by the middle of next summer it’s going to look real nice,” said Bob Ford of Ellensburg Youth Rugby.

The plan is to start full-go rugby when the sunny weather comes back.

If all is in place in time, the field will invite matches and be a weekly training space that other sports like ultimate frisbee, soccer and lacrosse can use and that student athletes can care for.

“The rugby club was able to install the goal posts but that was it,” City of Ellensburg Parks and Recreation director Brad Case said. “We were strongly advised against seeding the field later than Oct. 1, so that work will be delayed until spring when weather allows.”

In the meantime, Ellensburg Youth Rugby played at Rotary Park last spring and Central Washington University Men’s Rugby hosted a camp in which Ellensburg’s youngsters scrimmaged with the Yakima Youth Rugby Warriors Oct. 30.

“We’ve been working pretty hard since we started the program two years ago this spring,” Ford said. “We had about 56 kids out for our first competition before COVID shut everything down. The U-12s, U-14s and high school kids were all competing at the same time, and we were able to do a full season this last spring. We’re a new program, so we wanted to be respectful of space and look for spaces that are underused.”

Ellensburg Youth Rugby, city of Ellensburg, city of Ellensburg Parks and Recreation Commision and the city of Ellensburg Parks and Recreation Department applied for a grant this past spring and summer as the initial total project cost was estimated to be $50,000, and they raised support to have the work done and received nearly $10,000 to redo the park’s irrigation.

“When we first started we didn’t want to change too much, just get in there and play, but then we realized we’d have to do some work to make it serviceable,” Ford said. “We want to do what local pickleball community did in creating a place to play.”

Reecer Creek Excavating in Ellensburg liked the idea when they heard about it, and helped with the dugout.

Improving the existing barbecue area, snack bar, bathrooms, electricity, scoreboard, sprinklers, picnic shelter, play structure and parking and installing removable shelving in storage areas in the six-acre facility is also park of the idea.

Before that, the coalition needs to remove bases and the existing mound and backstop, fix or replace sprinkler box covers, add padding and artificial turf or sod to top of covers, re-seed or re-sod the dirt infield and base paths, remove the infield and outfield edge and install 10-row bleachers with a roof and back wall.

FairPoint Field improvement updates are online at Ellensburg Youth Rugby’s Facebook page.

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