by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Fritz Field was a busy place this summer and members of the Cologne Baseball Association are hoping it will continue to be in the future.
On Monday, representatives of the association updated city council members on the packed summer and ongoing fundraising for a light project.
Darrin Good said that Fritz Field was the site of a lot of games this season including the Hollanders town team, high school games, Norwood Legion and wood bat tournaments.
“Last year we had a really poor spring but, even despite that, we had more than 50 games,” said Kuerschner. “We used the field almost as much as last year despite the poor weather that we had.”
Cologne also co-hosted the Third District Division II Legion baseball tournament with Norwood, which include 15 teams in 28 games over two weekends and a total of 1,750 fans in Cologne.
“For that tournament we produced a nice program and the individual teams got their photos and individual rosters in that,” said
Jason Kuerschner, adding there was advertising as well. “We tried to promote as much as we could of our town as well.”
Kuerschner said traveling teams made use of the field as well, another testament to its quality.
“Just a nice point is for our community and our field, there was a team from Hopkins that had issues with getting a home date with Waconia,” said Kuerschner. “They actually came to Waconia and said ‘if you schedule that game in Cologne, we’ll play it there.’ They gave up a home date to come play in our field.”
Good added that baseball association members are excited to continue to promote baseball.
“We like baseball for one,” he said. “We think it brings a lot of people to our community and our town.”
Looking ahead, members said they will continue to maintain the quality of the field, putting funds towards fences, seats, sprinkler system addition, tables, viewing deck and field upkeep.
“We’ve put a lot of our own time and effort and we’re proud to do that the last four years,” he said, estimating they have spent $20,000 to $25,000 on the field in the last few years. “We’re willing to continue to do those type of things and we want to.”
The team also continues to raise funds for lights, a project that is expected to cost between $150,000 and $170,000 according to preliminary estimates from different companies.
The original target was to save more than $50,000 and consider starting the project by the end of 2015.
“We actually feel like we are going to be there by the end of next summer,” said Good. “We’re real close to it. 2015 should be easy that we’re at $50,000-plus. We’re on track for that.”
While no formal request was made, Craig Pexa said donations from the city would be welcome to get the project going.
“If the city in that situation where they can partner with us and get this going, I think it’s something we would all like to see,” he said. “We want to be careful when we do it too, and make sure we do it right.”
In other news, council members unanimously approved revising the billing dates for water and sewer rates to offset it by a month and discussed upcoming budget and property tax levy discussions.
The Cologne Council will next meet on Tuesday, Sept. 4, after Labor Day, at 7 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]