Puyallup: News

Momentum builds in effort to restore Fruitland Grange

James Holder fields ground balls on the ballfield next to the Fruitland Grange on South Hill. South Hill Little League is involved in helping renovate the grange. Members have set up a Go Fund Me account to help pay for the projects.
James Holder fields ground balls on the ballfield next to the Fruitland Grange on South Hill. South Hill Little League is involved in helping renovate the grange. Members have set up a Go Fund Me account to help pay for the projects. jbessex@gateline.com

Since 1937, the Fruitland Grange has proudly stood at 86th and 112th on South Hill.

Over the years the building has begun to deteriorate and now is in the midst of a restoration project.

However, the dedicated groups intent on giving it new life need help to make it happen.

According to Bob Ballou, president of the Fruitland Grange, the grange itself was formed two to three years prior to 1937, and the group met at the old Woodland School before the building was constructed.

“We went through several building phases,” he said.

The group relies on renting the facility, and that revenue source has fallen off due to the poor condition of the building. All hands are currently on deck to bring the building back to life, but more help is needed.

South Hill Little League, which serves more than 1,000 boys and girls ages 5 to 14, uses the ballfield attached to the grange for its home games.

Ellen Wood, the league’s secretary, said that the league voted to help out with the grange’s facelift project.

The grange graciously lets South Hill Little League use the field every day during practice and game season, and the league maintains the field and all expenses as well, Wood said.

“The grange has a very long history and we wanted to help make it more presentable so people will rent it and the grange can pay for its own expenses and bring some interest back,” she said.

South Hill Little League has set up a Go Fund Me page agreeing to match every donation up to $5,000. As of Monday, the page had raised $2,375. Because the league is a nonprofit organization, the donation is tax deductible.

New siding is currently being installed and the downstairs banquet room is being cleaned up. Volunteer painters are ready to paint the exterior of the building and Olympic Landscaping has cleaned up the grounds.

The league also expressed its gratitude to Joe Chumley, owner of Chumley Construction of Puyallup, which has donated many hours to lead the volunteers in the Fruitland Grange revitalization project.

A work party is scheduled for the end of the month for the removal of the old green metal roofing and the installation of new roofing. Volunteers are desperately needed, and anyone interested can contact Wood at EllenWood1960@gmail.com for more information.

Volunteers skilled in roofing and construction are particularly needed, Wood said.

Ballou joined the grange in 1945 and is hoping the history of the building will be preserved. Wood agrees.

“We are hoping that with the revitalization it will bring new interest,” she said. “The last thing any of us want to see is that it will go to developers. We have a huge invested interest in helping to keep it here because of that ballfield.”

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