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Park renaming honors longtime coach

May 23, 2014
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Over the past 30 years, thousands of local youth have been impacted by Kurt Donaldson in some way, especially if they wore cleats.

The community decided to pay him back by renaming Hancock Community Park as Kurt Donaldson Community Park, with a ceremony last Saturday at the park on Hancock Bridge Parkway.

County commissioners Cecil Pender-grass and Brian Hamman presented a proclamation in honor of Donaldson.

Article Photos

Kurt Donaldson, front and center at home plate with white hat and T-shirt, was honored Saturday by the Hancock American Little League when Hancock Park was renamed Kurt Donaldson Park. Donaldson has given 30 years of volunteer service to coaching Little League and Pop Warner football programs.

"It's a great opportunity to honor not only a great coach, but a person who has shaped so many young lives," Hamman said. "He is a coach who goes above and beyond."

There was live entertainment as well as countless others who have learned the game and life from Donaldson.

The park officially was renamed in Donaldson's honor last month by the Board of County Commissioners after Hamman was approached by the Little League board saying the change was long overdue.

"They said right now the park is named after a street. Why not name it after someone who's done so much for so many?" Hamman said.

Donaldson has served his community as a Little League coach for more than 40 years, 30 of those with Hancock American Little League.

Donaldson, a tenured professor of chemistry at Edison State College, also coached football for 40 years, 26 of those with the North Fort Myers Pop Warner.

Many of the people who coach now remember Donaldson coaching them as kids and today are watching their children coached by him.

Chris Sams is a coach and current Hancock Little League board member who remembers being a 12-year-old Little Leaguer when Donaldson arrived at Hancock in 1985.

"Every day he's up here with the kids. He's good with kids and very knowledgeable," Sams said.

"He's a good coach. What he does in practice is fun, but you learn a lot," said Jason Sams, 11. "He gives us tips on hitting and fielding, and he's really helpful."

The 17-acre park opened in 1976, offers four baseball fields, a basketball court, five tennis courts, a playground and picnic areas with two family pavilions.



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