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Monday, May 2, 2016

League is awarded lighting grant

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League (MYBSL) treasurer Ken Gaspar, at right, demonstrates the difficulty in flipping breakers to turn on the field lights at North Park. Kirk Verhoff points out that the exposed wires create a danger when moisture is present. The MYBSL has raised $209,000 to install energy efficient lights at the park but is still $41,000 shy of its fundraising goal. The new lights would be controlled from the announcer's stand with a simple light switch. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford] [Order this photo]
The Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League (MYBSL) was recently selected as one of four recipients of a $15,000 grant to replace the lighting system at Monett's North Park sports complex.

"On behalf of Babe Ruth League, Inc. and MUSCO Lighting, I would like to congratulate Monett on being selected as one of the four recipients for the 2012 season," said Steven Tellefsen, Babe Ruth League President and chief executive officer.

The MYBSL is currently engaged in a major fundraising campaign attempting to raise $50,000 to replace the aging lighting system at the park.

"Our North Park complex welcomes thousands of players and fans each season, and we have one of the best facilities in the region," said Ken Gaspar, MYBSL treasurer. "The League approached The City of Monett with a proposal to replace the 40-year-old lighting system currently installed at the park. The city supported and embraced the proposal."

The City of Monett has pledged $100,000 and the Monett R-1 School District added another $40,000 to the project. The fund's current balance is $209,000 and is nearing its goal of $260,000.

According to Gaspar, MYBSL and the city have worked side by side over the last five years to ensure the citizens are proud of the facility.

"The MYBSL continues to work closely with the city and community to improve our park," said Gaspar. "The MYBSL, City of Monett, and the Monett R-1 School District have entered into a partnership that will ensure this dream becomes a reality."

The lighting of each field is not without its challenges. Most fields have too many poles with too few fixtures and some fields have poles that are leaning and in need of replacement.

The MYBSL had identified and applied for two other grants that would substantially contribute to the amount needed for the lights.

"We are also seeking grants from the Major League Baseball's Baseball Tomorrow Fund and a grant offered by the State of Missouri's Land and Water Conservation Fund," said Gaspar. "We applied for the Babe Ruth grant last November, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund application was submitted in February and decisions will be made in the April-June time frame.

"We are seeking additional information regarding the state's funding feasibility," continued Gaspar. "We have been working with Dennis Pyle and a grant writer to secure these funds. We are excited about the possibility of seeing a new lighting system in place for the 2013 season."

The MYBSL will kick off the 2012 season with an opening ceremony on Friday, April 27 at North Park. The regular season commences the following Monday.

The league will be hosting many tournaments throughout the year to increase fundraising and to promote the city and its offerings. Many visitors from surrounding communities and states converge on Monett, increasing commerce and sales tax revenue.

"The receipt of this grant from Babe Ruth and MUSCO is very exciting," said Gaspar. "We are selling personalized brick pavers that any individual or business can purchase and have installed at the park. All proceeds from the sale of these bricks will be used for this and other capital improvement projects at the park."

Anyone interested in ordering a paver should contact the league at mybsl@suddenlink.net or call Gaspar at 235-1429. Information is also available on the League's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mybsl.

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