Chesterton Tribune

Little League raising funds for new challenger division field

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By CASEY REESE

State Park Little league is expanding. With a growing number of kids playing and facilities that are inadequate to accommodate the increasing volume of players, State Park is reaching out to the community to help fund the building of a new field, batting cages, storage unit, and much needed restrooms.

The field they envision is small but valuable. “We are looking to build a 125 foot pony size Challenger field.” said Audra Peterson, vice president of State Park Little League and expansion committee chairperson.

“Our goal is to have our special needs players in the Challenger division have an obstacle free surface to be able to play on.” The field will have artificial turf instead of natural grass.

The new field will be built specifically with special needs children in mind, but will be able to host a number of baseball activities. “We can do T-ball on there, we can do coach-pitch instructional level on there, because of the field size, it is conducive to any of those age levels.” Peterson said.

The restroom situation at State Park is in serious need of a tune-up. “Currently our restroom facilities are not handicap accessible and we have one stall for each washroom.” Peterson said. “We are servicing about 700 kids during the spring, summer and fall months. One restroom each is quite scanty.” State Park Little League would like to build two new restroom facilities that are handicap accessible and also have restrooms in the storage building they want to erect.

The primary goal of the expansion is to get most of the players and their families into a consolidated, family friendly environment. “One of the things that we’ve had to do over the past several years is we’ve been using Dogwood Field, Bailey Elementary, and the two fields we have down at State Park Little League.” Peterson explained.

“And one of the things that we’ve found is that it’s very hard on our families because they are running to either Bailey Field, Dogwood Field and State Park Field if they’ve got kids in multiple age brackets. So we are trying to get as much as we can down on our property, which would obviously better suit our families. One of the things we are really trying to do once all is said and done is create a park like environment that is family friendly. So if there are younger kids, they can be there, and they are within walking distance of parents who are maybe watching older siblings.”

None this will be possible without funding, and there is still much to be raised. Of the estimated $250,000 needed to complete the expansion, about $51,000 has been raised. There have been major contributors, like Ron McColly, owner of McColly Real Estate, who donated the 1.75 acre parcel that the project is being built on. State Park Little League has also partnered with Chevy Baseball and Arnell Chevy to raffle a car. All proceeds will go to State Park.

Having large contributors alone will not get State Park to its goal. It is going to take a concerted effort from the community to reach their target. There are many ways for the community to get involved, whether it be donating their money or their time. “We have an expansion fund that is set up at First State Bank in Porter and we are setting up a poker run.” Peterson said. “We will also be looking for volunteers to build a retaining wall next month.”

So with an eye on next spring for getting at least the field in, Peterson reflected on why they are doing all this in the first place. “We work off the philosophy that every child deserves to play baseball and or softball. So that’s one of the reasons why we feel very strongly about getting this done.”

For more information on how to get involved, visit www.stateparklittleleague.com

 

 

 

Posted 7/18/2011