La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) ----- A partnership between the La Crosse Loggers and UW-La Crosse provides stability for the UW-L baseball team and brings about $650,000 worth of upgrades to the Lumberyard at Copeland Park.
The Loggers have been a part of the La Crosse community for the past 11 years but most people don't realize that the Loggers aren't the only ones who use the field at the Lumberyard. Combine heavy use with weather and everyday wear and tear and you have a field in need of a makeover.
At a ceremony at the Lumberyard Tuesday an announcement was made that changed things for the Logger organization and every player that uses that field.
The Lumberyard may be home to the Loggers but it's also home to other aspiring players. UW-L baseball coach Chris Schwarz says a lot of players use this field. "Central High School, this is their home field. La Crosse Legion in the summer time and then a lot of youth tournaments, also Stars of Tomorrow. Well over 200 games are being played here. Then add in our schedule and we're probably gonna be over 250 in no time."
Getting artificial turf was a dream until Barb and Dave Skogen made a $300,000 donation. Barb said the timing couldn't have been better. "I mean it looked like a forgotten baseball field. They had the bobcats in. I mean to see the work that goes into getting the field ready for spring, let alone maintaining it it's just a no brainer."
Artificial turf will cut down on maintenance costs and canceled games but according to the Loggers Assistant General Manager Ben Kapanke, that's not all it will save. "You know the phrase 'Baseball is America's pastime'. It's America's history. Beautiful Sunday nights out here just taking in a baseball game and then to see these kids come here and advance to the next level. It's really starting to develop something with our kids that come here and get to follow players all the way into their career as they move on to bigger and better things."
The cost of the new turf is estimated at about $350,000. The Skogen's contribution of $300,000 will go towards getting new artificial turf. The remaining $50,000 has been pledged through fundraising.
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