Posted: Aug 31, 2012 7:59 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
Updated: Oct 5, 2012 9:23 AM
PLAINS- In less than a year, a group of dedicated parents and volunteers has raised enough money to start construction of new athletic fields that promise to be some of the best in the region.
If you drive west of Plains on the old highway, you see some clues that something exciting is about to happen.
While Field of Dreams references can be cliche, in this case, it seems appropriate for the baseball field that's about to become a reality in Sanders County.
Erika Lawyer, the treasurer for the Wildhorse Sports Association, said the area's needed a baseball field for a long time. "Thirty years ago this was something that was needed and property was always an issue. We could never come up with a space to do it that was affordable," she said.
"Nine out of the fourteen kids on the Mission Valley Senior Babe Ruth team came from Sanders County. We need a facility. We don't need them driving to the Mission Valley to play. We need them playing here," Lawyer said.
Last year when the Wildhorse Sports Association hatched the idea of using the old airport property. Safety measures for the new airport limit how the former site can be used, but athletic fields are permissible. So a lease was drawn up, and fund raising started about a year ago.
Kim Bergstrom, the Wildhorse association secretary, said community support's been phenomenal.
"Whether it's in-kind donations or cash donations or however they can pitch in to help, people are really behind this project," Bergstrom said.
The group has raised some $30,000, and more money continues to roll in.
Organizers said it shows how all of Sanders County realizes what a great upgrade this is going to be.
"The facility can maintain itself through the tournament fees and things like that," Bergstrom said. "But also bringing in the younger generations so that this whole ball of wax gets passed from generation to generation and the community really makes this investment."
The Wildhorse Sports Association has an Oktoberfest fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, and the ground breaking is set for October. If all goes well, you'll hear the sound of "play ball" here next summer.