The Albany Baseball Association is facing a brighter future this week after meeting the Oct. 1 fundraising deadline to replace deteriorating lights and poles at the youth baseball field on Griffin Road.
The capital campaign, entitled "A Brighter Future," began just a little over a month ago, with the goal of raising $88,500 in time to have the new lighting system in place by the 2013 spring baseball season.
However, a challenge grant of $10,000 from Kickapoo Spring Foundation
of Abilene inspired the organization to move forward more rapidly.
The grant was contingent on collecting the balance of funds by Oct. 1.
The league had raised $54,925 as of last week's news deadline, including the challenge grant, and issued an appeal to secure the remaining $33,575.
"On the day of the deadline we were still short of our goal," said league president Pat Kelly. "A representative from First National Bank called at the last minute and assured me that the bank would cover the balance needed to meet the goal."
Even without that balance secured, the baseball organization would have continued the campaign, Kelly said, but likely would have needed to raise the $10,000 locally.
"Twenty-five local individuals, businesses and foundations have been extremely generous the last couple of weeks helping the association meet its deadline," Kelly continued.
A complete list of donors and those who made pledges will be released soon.
The baseball association hopes to have the pledges fulfilled by January of 2013 and have the lights in place by March.
"Some individuals and organizations will wait until January 2013 to make their donations due to their generous obligations to other projects and organizations of 2012," Kelly explained.
Though the organization is confident that the amount raised will cover the cost, anyone still wishing to donate may do so. That money will be used as contingency for unexpected costs or rolled into the operating budget for the local league, said Kelly.
Board members of the Albany Baseball Association decided to replace the lighting system at the field primarily because of safety issues. The lights and poles currently in use at the ball field were originally installed in 1962, and are in actual danger of falling, according to Kelly.
The proposed lighting system will carry a 25-year warranty for parts and service and will hopefully last for another 50 years, he continued.Original Story
With an Oct. 1 deadline quickly approaching, the Albany Baseball Association is working feverishly to come up with another $34,000 to replace aging lights at the youth field on Griffin Road.
In the last week, the association has moved closer to its $88,550 goal with total contributions and pledges of $54,925 as of Tuesday afternoon.
"A Brighter Future," the capital campaign for the lighting effort, includes a $10,000 challenge grant from a non-Albany foundation that has to be met by Monday, according to Pat Kelly, league president and chairman of the campaign.
"We want to be able to meet the goal in either donations or pledges so we don't lose those dollars," said Kelly.
He explained that donors can call and pledge their gifts this week, then get the funds to the organization in the near future.
"It's very important that those willing to contribute act as quickly as they can."
Kelly added that the association will continue the fundraising regardless of the outcome of the challenge grant opportunity.
"We will continue the fundraising even if we can't get the balance raised and don't get the grant. But, that means that we will probably have to raise another $10,000 locally to make up for that," he said.
Kelly explained that the project will not actually begin until January.
"So for those who have reached their charitable contribution limit for this year, a pledge to donate in 2013 would be great."
The lights and poles currently in use at the ball field were originally installed in 1962, and are in actual danger of falling, according to Kelly.
"My fear is that one of the lights is going to fall and seriously injure someone."
The proposed lighting system will carry a 25-year warranty for parts and service and will hopefully last for another 50 years, he continued.
Other than safety, one of the main catalysts for installing new lighting is to be able to continue Albany's traditional four-team Little League system.
For decades, local players have been divided into four teams, each with a major and minor team. They play each other during the regular season, with two games per night during the week.
If the lights are not replaced, they will have to be taken down and only one game could be played each evening.
Kelly explained that unless games were played on Saturdays, the league would probably have to change to a two-team program, requiring local players to travel to surrounding towns on weeknights in order to play in an area league.
Players who use the baseball field range in age from five to 12.
The association also uses the field to host tournaments that generate operating income for the local league. Without evening games, hosting tournaments would not be possible, Kelly said.
Because the league has kept dues low in order for everyone to play, the organization has very little funding except for normal operating costs, he continued, necessitating the capital campaign for the lights.
"Every contribution - large and small - adds up," Kelly said. "If you have been associated with the baseball program, have children coming into the program or grandchildren in it, or simply like baseball, we urge you to contribute to the lights."
Those wanting to contribute or pledge call Kelly at 325-338-4963 or email to email@example.com.
The ABA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.