Application for Swanton High School Baseball Field Improvement Grant Being Made
In 2021, the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program will provide grants of products and services, with a value up to $50,000 to four youth-serving organizations that are in need of renovations to existing ballfields. Applications will be accepted from February 24, 2021 to April 9, 2021. A panel of judges, including Ryan Howard, Jennie Finch, and representatives from Scotts and Major League Baseball (MLB).
Each refurbishment will include one infield makeover that incorporates a new infield with sod and infield dirt. Other enhancements may include a new pitcher’s mound, new home plate and batter’s boxes, new bases and anchors. It is not clear if the community would have to perform the work or if it would be 100% by the program itself. The grant application, which was submitted before the deadline, is part of an effort by Swanton Local Schools with assistance from the Village Administration.
At the most recent Village Council meeting, discussion on the grant centered around maintenance of the high school baseball field going forward. Councilman Dave Pilliod, suggesting it would be “nice” to have a grass infield posed a question to Public Service Operations Superintendent Neil Tedrow. “Is there a reason why we don’t have a grass infield up there? Is that something sustainable?” he asked. “I would think it would be,” responded Mr. Tedrow.
There was still more discussion regarding the potential for increased maintenance which would be the responsibility of the Village as is the outfield grass now. “It’s not for lack of desire. It is the lack of individuals and the lack of equipment to maintain a varsity baseball field in a public park,” remarked Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle. “It’s not that we don’t want to. They want it manicured and I get it. I absolutely understand that. But your question about maintaining it, how many more seasonal people do we have to hire?”
Ms. Hoelzle also expressed concerns about maintaining the field during the off season. “The concern is, when it’s not in season, how frequently are we dragging it? How frequently are we doing ‘XYZ’ to it?” she asked. “Unfortunately, the same crews, as I’ve mentioned many times, that maintain the park are the same ones reading meters door to door, that are cleaning sewers, that are fixing water main breaks, etcetera, etcetera.”
Decisions on the grant applications will be made between April 10, 2021 and June 1, 2021. The grant awards will be announced on June 3, 2021 and project implementations will take place between June and September of 2021. If the grant application is successful, the Village Council said it could decide to reject the awarded grant if they determine the cost of maintaining a grass infield is too high. Separate grants from MLB for other Swanton ballfields have also been made.
Pictured: Swanton High School baseball field at Memorial Park