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Minnesota Twins donate to Citizens Field renovation

The Minnesota Twins have made a $5,000 donation to help in the renovations of New Richmond's historic baseball park, Citizens Field.

The updating of Citizens Field began last fall and Phase I of the project is well underway. The new third base dugout has been completed and the concession stand is well on its way to being finished. Fencing and landscaping projects have been started as part of Phase I of the project.

Citizens Field has been the primary baseball field in New Richmond since opening in 1937. It is a centerpiece of the community and it remains one of the most well known and revered ballfields in western Wisconsin.

The Twins made their grant to the New Richmond Area Youth Sports Association in the 2008 Twins Fields for Kids program. According to Dave Mehls of the NRAYSA, the grant from the Twins will help with the next phase of the Citizens Field project. The Twins grant is earmarked to help with three areas:

-- completing irrigation of the Citizens Field outfield;

-- completing the fencing down the third base line;

-- completing turf work around the third base dugout.

The Citizens Field grant is part of $99,000 in youth baseball and softball grants that the Twins made throughout the Upper Midwest. In partnership with the Toro Corporation and the Pohlad Family Foundation, the Twins Community Fund approved 16 Fields for Kids grants totalling $75,400. Since it was established in 1999, there has been more than $1.3 million in grants given out to renovate 357 ballfields in the Upper Midwest, Southwest Florida and Latin America.

New Richmond was the only Wisconsin community to receive a 2008 grant through the Twins' Fields for Kids program.

There are more plans for the Citizens Field project. The area between the grandstand and the concession stand will be built into tiered retaining walls for a viewing area, after the removal of the old concession stand. Installing a new outfield fence is a long-range goal, as is adding a viewing area that would be placed behind the new centerfield fence. Improvements to the batting cage and adding a fenced bullpen are also future parts of the project.

One of the next steps in the Citizens Field project will come on Saturday, July 26, when a group of volunteers are scheduled to paint the new concession stand at Citizens Field.

Several community members have stepped forward to make donations since the project started last year. The largest donations have come from Bob Krueger at $5,000, Ed Monette at $1,000 and Don Reppe and Tom Doar, who each donated $500.

Anyone wishing to make donations to the fund can send them to: Friends of Citizens Field, 251 Williams Ave., New Richmond, WI 54017.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

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