McCrary Park takes on another new look

The grandstand has been flattened at McCrary Park as another phase of the renovation is in the works at the baseball park in Asheboro. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO — The grandstand is gone, and renovations are picking up again at McCrary Park.

This latest development marks the latest phase in the upgrades for the baseball park.

“It’s a lot of work to do,” said Ronnie Pugh, an owner of the Coastal Plain League’s Asheboro ZooKeepers. “It’s moving along, and it’s pretty exciting. It can’t happen soon enough.”

For any past visitors, the sight of the grandstand no longer in place might be jarring. The concession stand and restrooms will have the same fate.

Grading for the construction of a new grandstand is supposed to be completed in early November.

Asheboro mayor David Smith said recently that he considers renovations to the city-owned ballpark as part of a larger plan to lure more visitors to the city and provide the facility’s main tenants with a top-notch venue.

Before the past season, a playing surface and dugouts were installed. That phase of the project was geared toward on-field participants, while the current stage is aimed at making the facility more fan-friendly.

“They’re doing a first-class job on it,” Pugh said.

The Kiwanis Club has donated $50,000 toward a playground at the site. With matching contributions, it basically doubles the funds available for that project, Pugh said.

Asheboro High School played at Kiwanis Park for the 2022 season because of the McCrary Park renovations. Delays in completing that phase of the project meant that Randolph County Post 45 began its American Legion season playing at alternate sites (mostly Southwestern Randolph High School), and the ZooKeepers had a reconfigured schedule until the field was ready in June.

Pugh, who is the manager of the Post 45 team, said it’s too early to know when the facility will be ready to use, so he’s not looking at alternative plans yet.

“We’ll just have to do whatever we have to,” he said.

Without the grandstand, games won’t be played because that provides the backstop. Netting also needs to stretch from dugout to dugout.

The American Legion season begins in mid-to late May and the ZooKeepers start soon after.

By Bob Sutton