Gila Bend continues rebuilding process with new softball field

Maricopa County and Gila Bend worked together to rebuild a softball field two years after a flood devastated the community. (Photo courtesy of Maricopa County)

By Robert Gundran

December 15, 2023

Two years after monsoon storm flooding ravaged Gila Bend, leaders from the town and Maricopa County joined the community to celebrate a step toward rebuilding: the grand opening of a new softball field.

Gila Bend has a population of under 2,000 people and is about 50 miles southwest of Phoenix.

The August 2021 flash flood dropped nearly 1.5 inches of rain on the town in 24 hours, and almost four inches along the nearby state highway. It displaced over 100 people and killed at least two: Blanca Ruiz and Jesus Perez.

 

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Opening the softball field is a small but important part of rebuilding the town, community leaders said.

“This grand opening is a symbol of Gila Bend’s resilience,” Gila Bend Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Varner said in a press release. “With help from Maricopa County, we’ve been able to take big steps forward to rebuild after the 2021 flooding that hit our community hard.”

The field was funded using just over $1.3 million from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors’ Community Solutions Funding.

Before construction started, cleanup crews had to get rid of all the debris from the formerly flooded area. Once that was taken care of, crews repaired the chain-link fence and irrigation system, added new dugouts and bleachers, installed lights, and put up an electronic scoreboard.

“This field will be a place where the kids of Gila Bend can play sports with their friends and make the town proud,” Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo said.

 

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Author

  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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