Fields of Dream
The city of Genesee is getting two ball fields after planning for nearly a decade. The Genesee recreation department, the Genesee school district and the city decided the current configuration wasn’t working, so they decided to make some improvements.
The goal is to create the two ball fields and a parking lot for those fields hopefully before softball season in spring 2015, said Art Lindquist, Genesee recreation department commissioner. The softball fields will cost around $250,000, Lindquist said.
“We’ve been raising money for years, and we finally have enough to build the fields, so we decided it’s time,” he said.
The baseball and softball teams suffered because there was only one field to share between 14 teams. The high school girl’s softball team had to share the field with the high school boy’s baseball team, said Kelly Thompson, the Genesee high school girl’s head coach.
“We practiced mostly in the grass of the baseball and football field,” Thompson said. “We barely got any time on the infield and sometimes our first time on the infield was in our games.”
Games weren’t easy either, Thompson said. The team traveled to Lewiston for all of their games the last several years. Even with the adversity, the team managed to make five state tournaments, winning two and finishing in second place three times, in the five years with Thompson as their coach.
“The city is so supportive that they’ve traveled to watch us in Lewiston,” she said. “If the fields are ready in the spring, I hope more people will attend because they won’t have to trek to Lewiston to watch us.”
For Kelly Caldwell, Genesee high school principal, the championships aren’t why he supported the creation of the new ball fields.
It is about equity, Caldwell said. The recreation department started working, and Caldwell knew creating softball and little league fields was the top priority.
“Championships or not, we need to provide equity for our teams and our players,” he said. “I’m happy that they will finally be able to practice on their own field, and they can play home games at home, instead of Lewiston.”
With 14 teams sharing a field, there was almost never time for teams to have the field alone, said Tammy Stout, Genesee activities association treasurer and youth baseball coach and youth softball coach.
Just like the high school softball team, the little league teams almost never practiced fielding in the infield. The kids would get terrified of ground balls, Stout said.
“With two fields, softball can have their own, and little league can have their own,” Stout said. “I think getting more practices will be the biggest benefit for the kids.”
According to censusreporter.org, 34 percent of Genesee’s population is under the age of 20. The organized sports aren’t the only people who use the fields, so the new ball fields will be great for everyone, Lindquist said.
In the long run, the recreation department wants to add more than just the two softball fields, Lindquist said.
“Right now, the football field and baseball field share space,” he said. “We hope to build a standalone football field with a track wrapped around it, and we want to give baseball their own field too.”
The goal is to add the football field and track combination and the standalone baseball field within the next ten years. The cost of the whole project, which includes the two fields currently being built, will be around $1 million, Lindquist said.
“We’re working on finding grants and fundraising for the football and baseball fields, but for now they will have to wait,” he said. “We’re excited to have new fields for softball and little league because we want them playing here at home.”
Outline: The city of Genesee is getting two new ball fields after having one baseball field for 14 teams to share. Three city groups have been planning and fundraising for a decade to build new fields. The end goal is to have a new football field, baseball field, a softball field and a little league field.
Two Sentence Explanation: After years of waiting and asking for money, the Genesee Recreation Department is finally getting some adequate play fields. They are adding two softball fields, and in the future (hopefully) a standalone baseball field and a standalone football field.
Evidence: I wrote a story about this earlier in the Summer when they initially had the money approved for the play fields back in July. The softball fields are in the process of being built. They hope to add the football and baseball fields in the future.
Why Now: The city of Genesee has needed these fields for awhile, so this story is relevant no matter what part you cover. The reason for me is they want the fields ready and playable by the Spring when the softball team returns. The softball team (if I remember correctly) has won the State Championship in back-to-back years. Now they will finally have a field that is at their level of play.
Interviews: I’ve talked to Art Lindquist the Genesee Recreation Department Commissioner. Since my initial talk with him to check in, I haven’t been able to get him back. The reason that is important is I’m hoping to interview one of the coaches and a softball player about the new fields and what it will mean to them. I was hoping to get a name suggestion from Art, so when I called it wasn't a surprise for the coach and player. My fourth interview I’m not sure whom I’ll go after, but I’ll find someone.
Format: Print, 500-600 words
Art Lindquist: 208-310-9046
Kelly Thompson: 208-413-4911
Kelly Caldwell: 208-285-1162
Tammy Stout: 208-305-4711; 208-285-1679
I didn't get a video of a source, which I talked to you about the likelihood of that happening. I'd be happy to discuss that matter further if you'd like.