By Ivan Raconteur
The number of kids participating in youth baseball is growing, and the Lester Prairie Youth Baseball Association is working on plans for a new field to accommodate this growth.
Board member Troy Feltmann presented preliminary plans to the city council in March, and plans to submit a final configuration for the field to the council at tonight’s council meeting.
The baseball committee, which includes Feltmann, his wife Lisa, Larry Roth, and Amy Bettcher, arranged a series of “movies in the park” events last summer. These events raised $1,000 in donations to be used for the field.
Feltmann said the Lester Prairie Cub Scouts have also said they would donate $1,000 or more toward the field.
The Lester Prairie School donated some chain link fence that previously surrounded the satellite dish at the school. Feltmann and Roth took it down last summer. Feltmann said the association will only need to purchase some taller posts to make the backstop.
Lester Prairie public works employees Greg Mueller and Adam Birkholz have agreed to help with removing the sod and getting the field ready, Feltmann said.
He added that he may need to recruit some volunteers to help build the backstop.
“We hope to have it done and ready to go by June 1,” Feltmann said.
Some details, such as parking arrangements, still need to be worked out, and Feltmann said he will work with the city council and the Lester Prairie Police Department on these issues.
The field will mainly be used for the preschool program, the K-ball program (kindergarten), and the modified T-ball program (first and second grade), although the older kids may use it for infield practice only, Feltmann commented.
Last season, the association had one preschool team, four modified T-ball teams, two teams for third and fourth grade boys, three teams for fifth and sixth grade boys, and one team each for Sandy Koufax (seventh and eighth grade) and Mickey Mantle (15-16-year-olds), Feltmann said.
There were also two teams for third and fourth grade girls, one team for fifth and sixth grade girls, and one team for seventh and eighth grade girls.
“When we started to run the association, there were only one or two teams at each age level,” Feltmann said.
He added that there were about 250 kids in the program last year, and that number could be even higher this year.
There were 25 kids in the preschool program last year, and there are 34 signed up for this year.
“The numbers are going up, and that is promising for the school, too,” Feltmann commented.
Last year, some of the teams had to play at St. Peter Church, but, by building the new field on city property, the association can eliminate some concerns, such as the need for purchasing special insurance, Feltmann said.
The proposed name for the field is Scout Field, in recognition of the generous donation by the Cub Scouts.