Ballpark fundraising tops $360,000; opening pushed to 2014The new community ballpark -- First National Bank of River Falls Field at Hoffman Park -- continues to move closer to reality thanks to the fundraising efforts of the River Falls Baseball Council (RFBC) and the generosity of the River Falls community.
The new community ballpark -- First National Bank of River Falls Field at Hoffman Park -- continues to move closer to reality thanks to the fundraising efforts of the River Falls Baseball Council (RFBC) and the generosity of the River Falls community.
Since receiving a $100,000 commitment from First National Bank of River Falls in mid-June, the RFBC has raised an additional $104,000 to bring the total amount raised to $361,000.
Just over $45,000 of that total has been gathered from private individuals through the sale of engraved bricks and engraved seat nameplates in the grandstand. The RFBC has also received major commitments in the past month from DeVine Liquors, Plummer Concrete, Best Maid Cookie Company, RCU, Arrow Building Center, and River Falls State Bank.
“Considering we started raising money only five months ago, we are thrilled with the progress so far,” RFBC president Josh Eidem said. “We can’t say enough about the generosity of our community. Thankfully, we’ve had lots of partners who can see that this ballpark is about community, kids, and family much more than it's about baseball.”
As previously reported, the RFBC had hoped to break ground for the ballpark once it hit the $300,000 mark. However, the RFBC has decided to delay construction until next summer in order to take advantage of a potential FEMA grant to bring a storm shelter to Hoffman Park on the ballpark site. The storm shelter would be accessible to all users of Hoffman Park in case of inclement weather.
“While we’re disappointed not to be playing at First National Bank of River Falls Field in 2013, waiting until 2014 was a no-brainer for the future of Hoffman Park as a whole and the safety of our community,” Eidem said. “If delaying construction for six months means that our softball players, our disc golfers, and our soccer players will be safer during severe weather for the next 50 years, it’s worth waiting six months,”
The city and the RFBC expect to hear whether they have received the grant this fall.
The short delay also gives the RFBC more time to continue raising funds before breaking ground. The group has set a new goal of $450,000 raised before a groundbreaking. The total project cost is $700,000.
“We are looking for a few more corporations, small businesses, and individuals to join us,” Eidem said. “It is a great feeling to see a light shimmering at the end of the tunnel, but there is plenty of work left to be done. We just need some help getting to the finish line.”
If interested in pledging, or receiving more information about the project, Eidem can be contacted directly at 651-335-0030. More information, and a pledge form, can be found online at www.riverfallsbaseball.org.