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Dubach celebrates new amenities

Tuesday, July 9, 2024
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Leader photos by Caleb Daniel
The town of Dubach opened multiple new outdoor facilities Saturday during an all-day Celebrate Dubach event, including a newly revitalized staple, the old town ballpark, which hosted a softball tournament throughout the day.

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Two-year-old Audrey Simpson and her father Cody enjoy the new playground on James Lake.

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Town officials and volunteers who brought the ballpark back to life held a ribbon cutting ceremony over home plate Saturday morning.

Residents and visitors alike flocked to Dubach Saturday as the town held a celebration to roll out a host of new outdoor amenities.

A revitalized and expanded playground is now open next to James Lake on Wynn Street, thanks to a federal grant the town council received. The old amphitheater on the water has been revived as a viable outdoor music venue as well.

Perhaps most significantly for longtime residents, after many years of inactivity and decay, the town’s old ballpark — just around the corner from the lake — is fixed up and ready to host events once again, as teams gathered to break it in with a softball tournament throughout the day Saturday.

The town cut the ribbon on each of these facilities during the event. Pair these new offerings with a boat launch and nature trail that were added in the past year, and officials are hoping the James Lake area will provide many recreation opportunities for folks to enjoy.

“I think it will give the people a chance to come back to Dubach, enjoy our lake, fish, bring kids to play on the playground,” Mayor Mona Wilson said. “We’ll still have live music and ballgames as well. I think people will start to come back to Dubach and enjoy what we have.”

That goal seemed closer than ever Saturday as some 2,000 people stopped by for softball, fishing, playground entertainment, live music, food and fireworks as organizers dubbed the first-ever “Celebrate Dubach” a success.

Council member Evelyn Graham has rallied for the ballpark’s revival for more than six years. On Monday morning she said she was “still out of breath” from seeing her dream fulfilled as the ballpark was finally being used once again.

“God answered my prayers, because I knew it would be beneficial for our community, our town, our churches and our children,” Graham said. “I look forward to it growing and becoming even bigger, the different ways we can use it for the town.”

After multiple hurdles and false starts that petered out, the current version of the town’s ballpark committee, together with the Dubach Legends nonprofit group, provided the manpower and equipment needed to repair and revitalize the dilapidated facility. All that’s left to make it fully operational is new lighting for evening activities and some fencing in centerfield, where the town plans to sell advertisements.

“All praise to God and the men who came forward,” Graham said. “I just can’t thank them enough.”

From cracking down on nuisance properties to adding new amenities, Dubach’s town leadership is hoping to stir the echoes of the town’s heyday and give people a reason to visit.

After seeing visitors from Arkansas and Texas at Saturday’s event and seeing more folks out on the playground the following day, Wilson believes things are on the right track.

Next steps include finishing the ballpark completely and connecting that facility to the lake offerings by creating a walk-through path from the field to the nature trail. A resident is also working on reviving the town’s old theater.

Luring restaurants to open in town is also on the menu, Wilson, a realtor, said.