With plans for newly refurbished ball diamonds at La Porte City’s recreational league site on 8th Street costing an estimated $300,000, the City, along with the support of the La Porte City Lions Club, is actively searching for ways to fund the project.
Preliminary plans would call for a complete resurfacing of the site where two aging diamonds serve the youth summer recreational program, which would allow for improved drainage. While the current layout is configured with one diamond larger than the other, the new design would create a pair of identical diamonds utilizing a standard youth-sized dimension of 225 feet from home plate to the outfield fence. All-new perimeter fencing around the diamonds would be installed, with the higher fence-line making the fan and player experience safer from balls that stray from the field of play. The new facility would also provide for an ADA-compliant concrete walkway that would be stroller-friendly, asphalt surfacing for one parking area and additional gravel lot parking behind the diamonds.
The cooperative effort between the City and Lions Club to maintain recreational ball diamonds dates all the way back to 1991 when the two entities entered into a cooperative agreement. During the summer of 1993, the Lions Club donated money and labor to upgrade the fields. Dirt and lime were brought in to level the area and fences were erected. In 2004, the City hired Bo’s Custom Fencing to install over 120 feet of 12 foot high fencing and 330 feet of six foot high fencing, while the Lions Club members took on the task of reworking the dugouts and creating covered shelters for the players.
Amenities not included in the estimated $300,000 renovation include concession stand improvements and new playground equipment.
The City is currently working on a pair of grants that could fund much of the project. The first, a Land and Water Conservation Grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, could provide up to a maximum of $75,000. The second, a Wellmark grant, could provide up to another $100,000 toward the project, provided the City match the amount awarded, which could be done through a combination of all other community fundraising efforts.
Meanwhile the La Porte City Lions have set a goal to raise $50,000, setting aside the proceeds from their Trivia Night contests and waffle breakfasts for the project. They are also sponsoring a Goat Scat Bingo Raffle that will take place during the Festival of Trails. Multiple $500 prizewinners could be awarded, depending on how many winning numbers have goat scat deposited on them. Raffle tickets are currently being sold by Lions Club members for $20 per ticket. The Festival of Trails ticket trailer will also have raffle tickets available prior to the goat “scatting” at 3 PM on Saturday. Raffle ticket holders need not be present to win.
The City has created a special fund designated for donations in support of the ball diamond improvements. Donations may be sent to City Hall, 202 Main Street, La Porte City, Iowa 50651. Checks can be made payable to City of La Porte City. Please specify “ball diamonds” in the memo line so that the donation may be credited to the proper account. For additional information about the project, contact City Hall at 342-3396.