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City of Mabel Receives Grant from Minnesota Twins


Fri, Aug 16th, 2013
Posted in Mabel Sports

Damage sustained by the Mabel ball field during the recent flooding will soon be repaired with the help of grant money. Photo by Heather Kleiboer

By Hannah Wingert

When Kati Tweeten, the head softball coach for the Mabel Canton Softball team and the summer recreation director for the City of Mabel, Minn. first heard about the Minnesota Twins “Fields for Kids” grant program, she thought of the Mabel baseball field. The fencing around the field was in bad shape with places where gaps or curling are occurring.

The flooding that Mabel experienced this past June had washed away entire sections of the fence. The home dugout had also been washed away during the flood, and the rest of the field was in very bad condition.

The Minnesota Twins “Fields for Kids” program provides matching grants in the amount of $1,000 to $10,000 for non-profit organizations and local governments to repair or build baseball/softball fields in the upper Midwest and Southwest Florida. Tweeten knew that the grant would allow the city to make the necessary repairs to the field.

Tweeten teamed up with community member, Bobbie Jo Vickerman. As Vickerman grew up in Mabel and has two children who play softball and t-ball on the field, she had a definite interest in the future of the baseball field. The two were given approval from the Mabel City Council to go ahead with applying for the grant, and in April 2013, they began writing the grant application. Pricing quotes and bids for repairs, and pictures of the damage had to be included to show the need for the grant. They submitted the application on the day it was due and began the wait to see if they would get it.

On June 27, Tweeten received an email from the Twins Community Fund Board of Directors informing her that they had been awarded the grant. Tweeten had heard that just about everyone who applied for the grant received at least some grant money, but was surprised when Mabel was awarded the full grant amount of $10,000. Even more surprising was that the check was made out for $20,000. It turned out that Vickerman had checked a box on the grant application to be considered for the Fox Sports North “Sandlot” field scholarship, and Mabel had been awarded the matching amount of $10,000 from them.

Tweeten and Vickerman hope to be able to repair the fencing around the field, fix the home and visitors’ dugouts by putting in cement floors and coverings, and make any other repairs that the field needs to be in good condition. The Mabel City Council will make the final decision on the repairs that will be done.

The terms of the grant state that the grant must be used within a year of receiving it. Tweeten and Vickerman are hopeful that the field will at least be in playable condition for the tournament during Steam Engine Days. The City Clean-up Day really helped move things along in starting to get things back in shape, but there is still a lot of work left to do. The field should be finished by this fall.

Even though the grant has already been matched by the “Sandlot Scholarship,” Tweeten and Vickerman are still asking for donations to help cover the costs of repairs. They estimate that the fencing alone will cost approximately $30,000 to fix.

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