RANCHESTER — The Tongue River Valley Community Center received a $25,000 donation monday from the family of Dan Scott. Scott died in a helicopter accident in April and his family made the donation in memory of him.
Scott was an initial supporter of the TRVCC and contributed to its startup by purchasing and donating the Ranchester building to the organization in 2006.
It has since expanded from the original location in Ranchester to a second building in Dayton. Monday’s donation is earmarked specifically for improvements to the Ranchester site, namely the creation of an outdoor sport court on an unimproved lot adjoining the building. The family noted that the donation to the Ranchester center was fitting, as it was the home location of the TRVCC when it began.
Erin Kilbride, executive director of the TRVCC, said the all-weather sport court will be used for a variety of outdoor sports including pickleball, soccer, basketball and more. She noted that children coming to the center currently use a grassy area across the highway from the center for outdoor recreation, creating a safety issue.
“It is just perfect for a kids play area, so we are going to get these kiddos even more active!” Kilbride said about development of the lot, which she hopes will begin this fall. “It will be nice having an outdoor play area on campus, on our property.”
The lot where the court will be installed is owned by TRVCC, but has been vacant for several years. It is approximately 80-feet by 110-feet and the expected size of the court will be approximately 80-feet by 40-feet. The remaining space will possibly include additional play equipment in the future.
“It will get us a huge start and then the extras can come later,” said Laurie Morris, one of several initial organizers of TRVCC. “We’d love to be able to put a playground area off to the side maybe with a climbing wall, maybe some memory benches possibly and hopefully turn it into a beautiful park in memory of Dan.”
Trink Morss, one of Scott’s daughters, said the family hopes that the donation will encourage other local residents to get involved and volunteer with needed tasks to move the project along quickly.
“We’ll need to get some lighting for it of course,” Morss said. “There will need some grading or leveling or even sand brought in, a few things like that. I am sure the neighborhood will jump in there. There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities when you get down to it. If this project interests anybody, please stop by and help.”
“For Dan, I know he would be smiling,” Morris said about the impact of the donation. “He would just have a big grin on his face from ear to ear. Wealways called Dan our angel. He would say ‘I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime but never an angel!’ He always seemed to appear when the community center needed him. He would think that this is a fabulous project.”