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'It feels like Tyler has a legacy now': Bettendorf dedicates baseball field for Tyler Hurd
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BASEBALL

'It feels like Tyler has a legacy now': Bettendorf dedicates baseball field for Tyler Hurd

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Tyler Hurd could often be found at Ed Scheck Park.

More specifically, Tyler Hurd could often be found on the baseball field at Ed Scheck Park.

Whether it was playing organized baseball through the Bettendorf/Pleasant Valley Youth Baseball Association, or playing home run derby with friends, or even just coming by himself to hit balls over the fence for fun, Tyler loved his neighborhood park. He loved Bettendorf.

Friday afternoon, Bettendorf loved him back.

On a cloudless, sunny afternoon in front of a crowd of at least 200 people, Tyler Hurd Field at Ed Scheck Park was dedicated in his memory.

Hurd passed away in his sleep on June 24, 2020, while camping with friends in his backyard to celebrate his 17th birthday.

"We're touched," Tyler's father Jason Hurd said. "There's so many awesome people out there that were always there but they come running when you need people to lean on."

Tyler was more than just a lover of baseball. His parents described him as "a citizen of the world who cared about politics, ethics and conservation.

"He was a quick-witted, smart aleck that could crack you up in a heartbeat with one of a million puns, jokes, impersonations, accents and facial expressions.

"Tyler was a Christian, a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, a teammate and a friend."

All of that was on display Friday. For more than an hour, people came up to the Hurd family, many of whom were wearing shirts created by classmates Dallas Schatteman and Patrick Mooney.

Among those in attendance was Mayor Bob Gallagher, who delivered opening remarks and also participated in the ribbon cutting, along with the Hurd family and BPV communication director Steve Tappa, who had a large role in the project.

"It's a huge gesture and it's extremely powerful to us. It feels like Tyler has a legacy now," Tyler's mother Tami Hurd said. "The truth is, we all are going to die and you live in denial that that's real, and Tyler went way too soon. What's your legacy? What do you want people to remember about you? What mark are you going to leave?

"And with Tyler, we're really lucky that he was the kind of guy that it only took 17 years to leave that mark so we just wanted to do something to honor that."

The idea for the park started not long after Tyler's death. Already with plans to create a memorial scholarship fund, the Hurd family initially inquired about the potential to put a scoreboard at the already-existing field.

"It's a great little diamond, but it still needs something else," Tappa said. "What if we get a scoreboard and batting cages, and so forth? It started from there."

That idea quickly took off, with the city park board becoming involved in January. It was an easy project to find support for.

"It was a real team effort. The elected park board really voted it through and from there it kind of blossomed," said Kim Kidwell, Bettendorf Parks and Recreation director. "The more we heard from the family and the friends, you just knew this was going to be a really special project."

The naming is just the beginning.

There will be a scoreboard installed — a state-of-the-art model that can be operated both manually and digitally — as well as two batting cages and a new storage unit that can store portable pitching mounds, L-screens and a tractor to drag the field. More park benches and trees are still coming as well.

Tappa estimated the cost was about $25,000, nearly all funded through donations.

As a result, the field will look quite different on June 24, when BPV will play games across the city in Tyler's memory.

After the dedication ceremony, friends and teammates got together to play a game of kickball, the first official activity on Tyler Hurd Field.

"Tyler would be out there playing with them, for sure," Tami said. "He'd have been initiating that."

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