FORT LORAMIE – From farmlands to hometown, the Redskin Memorial Park committee will be reaching out for financial support to finish the new 26-acre athletic complex located at 605 E. Park St., next the elementary school.
“We are asking the public to help us complete the dream and support the park with a campaign to raise $250,000 by the end of the year,” said the committee’s financial vice president Diane Meyer. “We will use letters and personal contacts to ask for donations from individuals not just within the Fort Loramie boundaries, but also in the surrounding area as well.” Currently, the committee has raised almost $1.4 million toward the estimated $2.3 million project.
Committee president Craig Drees said demand was already strong for this new athletic complex.
“Although the ball diamonds were not totally complete, a 10-team men’s softball league used the two ball diamonds through tournament play,” he said.
It was the first time ball teams played in town since 2007 when the new elementary school was built on the former ball field.
“Even though there were no bleachers out there yet this summer, they wanted to use those two diamonds,” Dress said.
Drees also said that getting the diamonds ready to use this summer would not have been possible without help of volunteers to do things such as install the perimeter fencing and back stop. It was estimated volunteer work has saved $150,000 overall in various installations at the park.
Now the committee wants to seek out individuals to push the project forward. Meyer said giving can involve various levels of cash donations to this non-profit, 501 3c organization. Donors who give from $1000 to $10,000 will receive recognition on an engraved plaque at the park entrance.
A description of the entire project and a donation form can be found on the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RedskinMemorialPark/. Those wishing to hear more about the donation process can talk to one of the committee members, who are president Craig Drees, vice presidents Diane Meyer and Ryan Homan, secretary Lisa Benanzer, and treasurer Jeanne Hoying.
The goal for this final financial push is to finish the new park in the best way possible for as many different sports as possible, according to Meyer.
After a summer of construction work, Village Administrator Tony Schmitmeyer said they have almost completed all four ball diamonds and the concession stand. Already in place is a football practice area with shelter house and restroom and a fitness walking path. Concrete work and landscaping is expected to continue through the fall.
Next year, work will include paving the gravel parking lot, building volleyball courts, an accessible playground, a second shelter house and a 40-foot by 60-foot foot pavilion.
“We are working toward making the pavilion usable for rental in all four seasons,” Schmitmeyer said. Concrete work and landscaping work is expected to continue through the fall. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2019.
So far, said Fort Loramie Mayor Randy Ahlers, support to finish the outdoor athletic complex has been great. He said thanks go first to 84th District Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, 12th District Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, as well as retired 84th District Rep. Jim Buchy.
“They were instrumental in obtaining the initial park development funding of $500,000 in 2016 state capital improvement funding,” he said. In 2018 another $145,000 was granted for an accessible playground.
Meyer said the support by businesses has been phenomenal. Only the volleyball court needs a sponsor. Other fund-raising plans include a Jan. 5, 2019, fundraiser at St. Michael’s Hall. Bruckens Cafe holds a 50-50 Queen of Hearts drawing once a month, with half the proceeds going to the park fund.