The first goal of the newly-formed group was to improve the infield playing surfaces of the six baseball fields located in Scheve Park and work to reduce the number of practices and games that were forced to be canceled due to weather events. The second goal was to replace infield and outfield fences and backstops around five of those baseball and softball fields. The fences were nearly 40 years old and presented safety issues for participants and other attendees. Additionally, the fencing had a poor aesthetic appearance. The third goal was to build a new field dedicated to girls youth softball to improve the opportunities for the softball programs in Mascoutah. Our ultimate goal was to provide a better experience for youth baseball and softball in Scheve Park, which would subsequently increase interest in the number of youth that play baseball and softball.
In August of 2014, members of the MAC met with the Park Board of the City of Mascoutah to discuss the plans and get permission to proceed with the project. The civic leaders were very supportive of our ideas and how we planned to accomplish these goals.
In addressing the first goal and after thoroughly researching our options for infield material that would be best suited for drainage and have the ability to dry quickly, we elected to install DuraEdge brand engineered soils. DuraEdge Engineered Soil (DuraEdge) provided the best product for playing surfaces that drain well, dry quickly, and has the additional benefit of being simpler to maintain than the infield soil currently utilized. In March of 2015, the infields on field numbers Four and Five were replaced with the DuraEdge. In December of 2015 the MAC applied for a grant through Major League Baseball, in association with their “Baseball Tomorrow Fund” program (MLB Baseball Tomorrow Fund). As part of the application process, the MAC outlined its plans to replace fences on three of the existing fields, install DuraEdge on the infields of two additional fields, and design and construct the new girls youth softball field.
In July of 2016, after an intricate application process and a site visit with executives from Major League Baseball, the MLB Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded the MAC a grant for $46,943.00 to obtain fence materials and for the application of DuraEdge on the remaining infields. All funds received from the MLB Baseball Tomorrow Fund were used to obtain construction materials required for this project.
The first step in achieving these laudable goals was to generate a reserve of funds necessary to purchase materials and other items required to start the renovation process. The MAC’s initial members created a flagship fundraiser with the goal of utilizing funds raised from this event to fuel ongoing projects in the future. The First Annual “Taste of Mascoutah” occurred in January 2015 and provided not only a positive, interactive event for business owners and residents of Mascoutah but, also paved the way for unique fundraising opportunities to ensure the longevity of the MAC and the projects it maintains. This event was well-attended by members of the community and the attendees were briefed on the MAC’s initial plans for the Park renovations. The Taste of Mascoutah helped generate community interest and provided the MAC an opportunity to learn additional concerns from residents regarding the state of the athletic facilities at the Park. The Taste of Mascoutah ultimately raised nearly $10,000.00 to assist the MAC in procurement of materials to begin the undertaking on the ball fields.
Specifically, the initial funds were used to purchase/deliver DuraEdge to be integrated on the ball fields to enhance the natural drainage process, as well as certain apparatuses used for baseball/softball (i.e., new base pegs, bases, etc.) and synthetic drainage enhancements to maximize the impact of the DuraEdge. The first phase of this project was performed entirely with volunteer work through MAC membership. The efforts of the volunteers dedicating their time and energy into successfully accomplishing the first phase of the project was nothing short of extraordinary.
This initial fundraiser was an overwhelming success as it provided necessary capital to begin the project, as well as increased community awareness and support. The Taste of Mascoutah further aided the recruitment of additional volunteers, which were necessary for the increasing magnitude of projects the MAC intends. Efforts were also made on social media and in the local newspaper to garner goodwill and the promotion of the MAC’s social activism. Soon, the membership involved in the MAC ballooned from a handful to nearly thirty members. The level of community support was palpable and the MAC was met with an amazing level of public interest and appreciation for the efforts being made to renovate the Park exclusively through private donations and volunteer workmanship.
Now, the MAC’s Taste of Mascoutah fundraiser has become a staple in community events and increases in attendance, as well as revenue every year. Parlaying on that success, the MAC added other fundraisers to the events calendar—the Bar Stool Open and a four-person scramble golf tournament. Check out the “Events” tab for more information on these fundraising activities!