Words from Ocracoke Youth Center President

Ocracokers have long dreamed of a green space dedicated to recreation, a patch of grass large enough for baseball, soccer, or other field sports. Over the years as the island’s small amount of buildable land dwindled, the likelihood of finding and affording a large enough tract became more and more remote. Two years ago a group of parents and interested citizens joined together with the mission of finding a home for an island baseball field. This “Baseball Committee” refused to accept the idea that Ocracoke didn’t have room for a ball field. To understand just how monumental an undertaking this was you have to understand the uniqueness of Ocracoke Island.

Perched across the Pamlico Sound and roughly 28 miles from the rest of its fellow Hyde County neighbors, Ocracoke has a history of independence. Accessible only by ferry, the majority of the island is owned by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The remaining private land of the village is largely developed with few large parcels available. The only recreational facility on the island is the Ocracoke High School Gym. There are no Tennis Courts, Ball Fields, or even a community playground. To compound the issue Hyde County is one of the poorest counties in North Carolina with no resources to put towards recreation.

Set against this backdrop the Baseball Committee joined forces with the Ocracoke Youth Center, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Youth Center was established in 1995 and provides recreational support to children and families on Ocracoke Island. Together their project mission became the purchase and development of land for a ball 􀏐ield and other recreational use.

In December of 2012, the first step towards our f􀏐ield of dreams” was completed with the purchase of the last land within the village suitable for our purposes. Our new Ocracoke Community Park will include a sports 􀏐ield for baseball and soccer and plans for 2,400 square foot Activities Center.

Now that the community has the property and we’re poised to begin construction, I am proud to announce the kick off of our Ocracoke Community Park Capital Campai gn. The monies raised in this campaign will be used exclusively for the development of this project. The campaign is an excellent way for you to be a part of this historical undertaking on Ocracoke.

Sincerely, Vince O’Neal, Board Chair Ocracoke Youth Center, Inc. Thank you in advance for your support and I hope you’ll join us when it’s finally time to hear “Play Ball!” on Ocracoke.