Saturday, October 20 , 2018, 9:00 am | Fair 55º


MarBorg Steps Up to the Plate with Girsh Park Restroom Trailer

Donation of handicap-accessible unit will serve as stopgap solution to absence of bathrooms near baseball fields used by special-needs kids

For every action, there’s a reaction.

On Monday, Noozhawk reported on Goleta’s Girsh Park and its financial struggle to provide satisfactory restroom accommodations for the Dos Pueblos Little League. The need was especially acute for the league’s special-needs Challenger Division, which will be starting its sixth season in March.

The story boomeranged around the offices of MarBorg Industries, the family-owned and operated trash hauler and waste-management company that also just happens to provide portable restrooms. On Wednesday night, MarBorg announced to the DPLL board of directors that it would be donating — free of charge — a handicap-accessible restroom trailer as a temporary solution to the park’s dilemma.

For the children and parents involved with the Challenger program, that is one reaction worth cheering about.

The DPLL Challenger Division was started by local mom Retta Slay in response to the desire of her son, Keaton, to play baseball. The program provides an important athletic outlet for special-needs children like Keaton, who was born with Down syndrome. Starting with six kids in 2004, the division had ballooned to more than 80 players last year. Since its inception, it has been a true testament to the heart of the community that Girsh Park so proudly represents.

The one drawback to the location of the park’s baseball fields has been that, aside from port-a-potties, the nearest restrooms are about 300 yards away, making it difficult for children to go during a game. The nonprofit park simply has not had the funding to launch a $300,000-plus construction project to install a permanent restroom facility adjacent to the fields, which also are used by AYSO soccer, summer camps and various after-school programs.

Enter the Borgatello family and MarBorg.

“MarBorg has always had a vested interest in Girsh Park,” Anthony Borgatello told Noozhawk on Wednesday, “and when we saw the Noozhawk article, and heard about this need, it just made sense for us to step in and use some resources that we have to help out these kids.

“It was really a no-brainer for us.”

The restroom model that the park will be receiving from MarBorg is a 30-foot, enclosed restroom trailer, which is split into men’s and women’s sides and has full Americans with Disabilities Act capabilities. The unit comes complete with hot and cold running water, and fully enclosed, handicapped-accessible stalls.

Normally, this type of long-term use unit would cost upward of $80,000, but MarBorg has pledged to allow Girsh Park to use it gratis. The gesture will buy the park some much-needed time for fundraising for a permanent facility.

“We are not putting a time frame on this donation,” said Borgatello, a company principal and general manager of the Liquid Waste Division. “We understand that this is just a temporary solution. But it can, hopefully, get these deserving kids by while a capital campaign is being run to raise money for a permanent structure.”

According to Girsh Park executive director Ryan Harrington, a capital campaign to raise enough money for a permanent facility will likely be a fairly long process.

“The thing is, the park is still paying off a long-term loan that we had to take out for our Fields Forever capital campaign just last year,” explained Harrington, referring to the park’s hugely successful 2008-09 fund drive that resulted in the completion of a top-flight synthetic turf soccer field.

“The park board understands the need for a close-by bathroom, and now we have a temporary solution. Once we make sure we can pay off our old loan, then we can focus on starting a campaign for a permanent solution.”

While Harrington is thrilled that MarBorg stepped up to the plate with what he called “this incredibly generous contribution,” he also realizes there are still other challenges before DPLL’s March 6 Opening Day.

“We still have to get all the permitting done through the city of Goleta,” he said, “and we have to figure out some of the logistics, such as extending the sewer line, hooking up the electricity, and where the exact location of the trailer should be.

“We’re also considering the possibility of putting a concrete pad down first, before bringing the trailer in.”

Despite the hurdles, Harrington and MarBorg are optimistic that the facility will be installed by the time the first “Play ball!” is heard this season.

“We are prepping the trailer as we speak for long-term use,” Borgatello said. “Our goal is to have it looking good and ready for use by the March 6 Opening Day. It will take some coordination, but it’s nothing we’re not used to, and nothing we can’t handle.”

This is by no means the first time that MarBorg has helped out Girsh Park when it has needed a little assistance. The company contributed to the Fields Forever campaign, it has donated all the trash and recycling services since the 25-acre park’s opening in 1999, and it provides all the trash and recycling receptacles on the premises.

Borgatello says he and his family are just happy to continue their tradition of giving back to a community that he says has given them so much to be thankful for.

“We’re a company that has a long-term commitment to this community,” said Borgatello, whose grandfather, Mario, founded MarBorg in 1936. “That’s why when we saw this need, and saw the opportunity to help out special-needs children, we didn’t even think twice about it.”

For more information about Girsh Park, or to make a donation, e-mail Harrington at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.968.2773 x3.

— Kevin McFadden is a Noozhawk contributor.

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