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An illustration of what the left field scoreboard at the new community ballpark will look like after Nash Finch's $50,000 commitment to the project.

Nash Finch, Family Fresh Market partner with ballpark project

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sports River Falls,Wisconsin 54022 http://www.riverfallsjournal.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/27/0613/ballpark-online.jpg?itok=jYVI59sT
River Falls Journal
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Nash Finch, Family Fresh Market partner with ballpark project
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The River Falls Baseball Council moved closer to its fundraising goal for a new community ballpark on the east side of Hoffman Park with the announcement last week that Nash Finch Company and Family Fresh Market has committed $50,000 to sponsor the new ballpark's scoreboard.

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Josh Eidem, RFBC president, said the donation puts the project's fundraising total at $157,000. Total construction cost is estimated at $600,000.

"We are humbled by the generous donation from Nash Finch and Family Fresh Market," Eidem said. "It really shows their commitment to our community here in River Falls. It is one thing to build a beautiful new grocery store downtown. But to invest and contribute to the quality of life of the surrounding community, that's a great thing."

According to Eidem, the RFBC has been working with area lenders on financing construction, and said the group is confident that once the project reaches $300,000 in committed funds, the RFBC will be able to break ground at Hoffman Park. That leaves the RFBC $143,000 short of starting construction.

The RFBC hopes to open the ballpark in July, 2013, with a game between the River Falls Fighting Fish amateur team and the American Legion Post 121 baseball team.

"We are thrilled with the project's progress so far and feel like we are getting very close to making this ballpark happen," Eidem said. "While our window for breaking ground this summer and playing in 2013 may be getting tighter, it can still be done. We're really encouraging anyone out there who has been waiting on the sidelines to fill out a pledge form for their name on a brick or a seat in the grandstand. We can do this, together, as a community, and it just takes everyone pitching in if they can."

Previous capital commitments for the project have included $50,000 from General Beer Northwest, $20,000 from Viking Coca Cola, $5,000 from Westconsin Credit Union, and $5,000 from Mahle Clevite.

The commitment from General Beer Northwest will help construct a three-part building along the ballpark's third base line that would include a Leinie Lodge pavilion with bathrooms, a concession stand and a maintenance and storage area.

The RFBC has also collected $22,000 in paver brick and seat sponsorship pledges from the community.

Pledge forms for paver bricks and seat sponsorship are available online at www.riverfallsbaseball.org

or from Eidem at 651-335-0030.

Other sponsorship opportunities still available at the ballpark include the dugouts, press box, light poles and donor's plaza. Interested individuals or companies should contact RFBC board member Curt Bruns, head of the ballpark's capital fundraising effort, at 715-426-4952.

The RFBC is also still seeking advertisers for the ballpark's outfield fence. Those interested in outfield signage should contact board member Dave Dintemann, RFBC head of marketing, at 651-233-8532.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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