In August of 2016, demolition of the old fences and backstops on three of those fields commenced. In September of 2016, construction of the new fences and backstops for the three fields began and were completed by the end of October of 2016. DuraEdge was installed on two more fields in October of 2016 and the three fields were completed in November of 2016. In November of 2016, the new softball field construction began with the installation of the new fence posts and the installation of the DuraEdge infield and new outfield grass. The majority of the construction took place in that time frame, however the new softball field was finally completed in March of 2017. All of the required labor and the vast majority of the heavy equipment necessary to complete this project was donated by MAC members.
In the aggregate, the renovated fields have much better drainage and are typically playable within three hours after a rain event. The recent statistics are evidence that the renovated fields have been a success. The number of cancellations due to rainouts over the past two years on those fields with DuraEdge infield playing surface have dramatically decreased. For example, in the Spring and Summer of 2016, the baseball fields on which DuraEdge was applied only suffered two cancellations due to rain. In the Spring and Summer of 2017, there were only five games that were canceled due to rain however, all of those games were able to be rescheduled. The number of kids playing baseball and softball has also increased due in part to the improved baseball facilities and the newly-constructed softball field. Additionally, the new fences and backstops have improved safety both on and off the field. The youth on those fields can now play without the apprehension of injury when playing near the fence.
The entire grant-writing process was navigated by MAC members and required an extensive accounting of proposed improvements and a detailed analysis of material and labor costs to accomplish the desired goals. Altogether, the MAC was awarded $46,943 in grant money to be utilized for materials, labor and other associated costs to completely makeover the existing baseball fields.
The required planning, organizing and logistical efforts that went in to this next phase of the renovation project were vastly increased with the magnitude of this phase of the project. Four of the Park’s existing baseball fields received all new backstops, fencing and gates, dugouts and benches, as well as additional applications of the aforementioned dirt additive. In the aggregate, approximately 1,600 feet of old, dilapidated fencing was removed and replaced with new material. The new backstops and fencing provide an attractive alternative to the worn material that had been installed many years ago. The remaining two baseball fields also received an application of dirt additive so as to improve the drainage quality in a cost-effective manner. The MAC’s future plans involve a similar, more comprehensive renovation of those two remaining baseball fields.
Further, in an effort to maximize the utility of current business advertisements located on certain field fencing, the MAC collaborated with the local little league baseball organization to design an advertisement campaign as part of a joint-fundraising venture that solidified additional funds over a five-year period into the future. Under this new concept, the MAC and local little league baseball organization engaged in a revenue-sharing principle so that all organizations enjoy the aesthetic and financial benefit to the advertisements, and local business owners enjoy a marketing campaign in a state-of-the-art forum, which truly gives back to the community. This newly-contracted signage was installed on the perimeter fencing of the two larger baseball fields.
The MAC’s grant award also included reserves to create a feature in Scheve Park that had never existed before, a dedicated girls’ youth softball field. In a previously under-utilized area in the Southwest section of the Park, the MAC saw the opportunity to design and build a field specifically for the use and enjoyment of those involved in the City’s youth softball programs.
The creation of the softball field required countless volunteer hours dedicated to regrading the landscape with heavy equipment (secured by donations from local business owners and MAC members) and construction of backstops and dugouts, installation of fencing and gates, as well as seating for spectators. Again, this project was made possible by the volunteer efforts of the MAC members, which again allowed the MAC to maximize its grant dollars by allocating the vast percentage of those funds to the costs of the required materials. Prior to the completion of this field, there was no specific field designated for the use of girls’ youth softball.
From the outset of the organization and the inception of the MAC’s vision for renovations, the project was overwhelmingly supported by the City government and ultimately deemed to be a collaborative effort between the MAC and governmental officials of the City of Mascoutah. The Mayor, City Council and City Manager supported the MAC’s concept, were consulted often and were appreciative of the MAC’s contributions to Scheve Park. Additionally, the City government provided valuable logistical and administrative support for the MAC’s goals in renovating the applicable fields.
Currently, the MAC is in the infancy of a project to erect light poles on Fields 2 and 3 at Scheve Park, to further expand the playing options of youth softball and baseball. Check back often for updates on this exciting project!