KEEP RIVERIA GYM OPEN FOR PUBLIC

July 12, 2002 12:00 am

People living in north La Grande near Riveria School were saddened to see their school close this spring.

Declining enrollment in the La Grande School District and major repairs needed at the school contributed to the school board's decision to shut down Riveria for good.

ALTHOUGH THE district plans to demolish the 90-year-old school, the spirit of Riveria could live on for many years thanks to the efforts of two local organizations that want to save the school's newer gym.

Community Connection of Northeast Oregon and the Grande Ronde Association for Youth (GRAY) are proposing to obtain the gymnasium.

Community Connection is interested in using the building for its Kids Club, a year-round day-care program. It sees the gym, which includes classrooms and a kitchen, as an excellent home for the children it serves.

GRAY wants to keep Riveria's gym and fields available to the public for youth basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and other uses.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION and GRAY would not have space conflicts, according to representatives from the organizations. Facilities would be used at different times and the groups would complement each other.

The GRAY/Community Connection proposal looks good. The school board, however, has an obligation to consider other plans that might surface for use of Riveria's gym and fields. Details would also have to be worked out on lease or purchase arrangements, and building and grounds upkeep.

Riveria-area neighbors should be excited that at least one portion of the old school could remain standing and put to use to serve their neighborhood along with all of La Grande.

BRING IN MINORS

Fans were understandably upset when Major League Baseball's All-Star game ended after the 11th inning in a 7-7 tie, and no most valuable player was named.

Other baseball games are allowed to continue into extra innings until a final run is made. But not true with Tuesday's National League versus American League contest.

The game was called because all the pitchers on both teams had been used. Seattle's Freddy Garcia pitched the final two innings for the American League while Philadelphia's Vicente Padilla finished for the National League. Pulling the pitchers after two innings made sense. Their teams would need their arms for games scheduled later in the week.

A solution to the problem: The top six minor league pitchers in the land could be brought in to sit in the dugout and wait their turn. They could be called to the mound to keep the game going should it extend beyond the 11th inning.