Volunteers step up to the plate

Published on: 6/29/2010

Greendale — As summer rolls on, the dozen or so baseball fields in Greendale will see more than their fair share of use.

Virtually every night, a baseball or softball game or practice can be found somewhere in the village. But with that use comes the tall task of maintaining those fields.

Grounds crew partners

That means money, something hard to come by as government entities face ongoing budget struggles.

As a result, officials have forged stronger partnerships with community groups like Twi-Nite Baseball to help out during budget crunches.

The village has always had an excellent shared-services agreement with the school district as well as with other community-based organizations that have used facilities, said Carl Tisonik, the village's public works director.

Maintaining quality baseball fields is something wanted by all groups involved - Twi-Nite, the school district and the village - so it only makes sense to work together, said Brian Koffarnus, the district's director of buildings, grounds and food service.

Between the three groups, the equipment and manpower needed to get the fields ready could be found. Their work helped vault the varsity baseball field from one of the worst in the conference to the top five, Koffarnus said.

Going for extra bases

Twi-Nite has regularly has helped maintain those fields but this year went a little further, thanks to more money and volunteers.

Just before the season started, a group of about 30 volunteers spent a Friday night and Saturday prepping baseball fields throughout Greendale - removing stones from infields, pulling weeds, aerating outfields or whatever odd jobs need to be done.

'We seem like we all want the same thing now and we figured out a way for the three organizations to partner together,' Twi-Nite Baseball Commissioner Tim Fauser said.

Funding slump

From the village's perspective, that spirit of cooperation becomes more important each year as budget crunches continue, Tisonik said.

'Funding is getting tougher and tougher every year and we don't have the budget to maintain those fields as well as we'd like,' Tisonik said. 'It's gratifying to see community groups step up to the plate.'

The high school baseball field gets even more wear and tear than usual because they are also used by youth football groups, which also help out with field maintenance.

The district's long-range plan is to build a new ball diamond at a different location, Koffarnus said, but until then will continue to work cooperatively so the field is in the best shape possible.