Volunteers renovate grandstand

CHERRY CREEK – Following a storm that dumped 2 inches of rain in Cherry Creek Tuesday night, the sun shone bright Wed-nesday morning as Home Depot stores from all over Western New York sent volunteers to team with members of the Cherry Creek Community Association to renovate the grandstand in the ballpark on Main Street in the village.

Volunteers from the Buffalo District of Home Depot, which includes North Buffalo, Clarence, Amherst, Lockport, West Seneca, Niagara Falls, Jamestown and Dunkirk, to name a few, drove as far as two hours to lend a hand in the effort.

Robert Bertone, Home Depot manager; Matt Teresi, human resource leader; Paul Tout, operational manager; Tamara Papke, Dunkirk Home Depot manager; and Rick Cole, Dunkirk store team leader, were greeted by Bruce Fish, Cherry Creek mayor; Bill Young, town supervisor; and Nancy Hall, president of the Community Association.

“This is a tremendous statement for Cherry Creek and Home Depot,” Fish said to those gathered.

Members of the Commun-ity Association undertook the project of renovation and repurposing the grandstand, and Home Depot enabled it to become a reality by awarding a Team Depot grant, which provided the building materials as well as the labor. Additional funds were provided by donation, assuring that no tax dollars were used for the project.

For many of the volunteers from Team Depot, working on these projects has become a way of life. Dan Curtin, from Dunkirk Home Depot, worked on projects year round in Florida before coming to Western New York.

Larry Spencer, from the North Buffalo Home Depot, said he participates because he believes in goodness.

“This will give me another brick in heaven,” he said.

There was a spirit of camaraderie as the volunteers gathered as Cole led them in a Home Depot cheer.

The landmark grandstand, which is adjacent to the newly installed playground, will provide seating and shelter for parents as they supervise their children’s play. Picnic tables will be placed at either end of the grandstand, with the center remaining as bleacher seating. The grandstand is also the site for many of the events of Cherry Creek’s annual Indepen-dence Day Celebration, and the renovation will be completed in time for this year’s event, which will take place June 28-30.

Local contractor Mark Cunningham has donated his professional expertise and has coordinated the project with Team Depot members, as well as those from the Community Association.

Conversations with longtime residents of Cherry Creek, Barbara Hendricks, Martha Belle Hodges and Sam Condon, all in their mid-to-late 80s now, ascertain that the grandstand has been in existence for their entire lives. According to Sharon Howe Sweeting, town historian, the earliest recorded history of grandstand appears in 1912.

This renovation should provide the grandstand for an entire new generation – family-friendly and handicapped-accessible for years to come.