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  • Writer's pictureMidwest Fence & Gate

‘Play ball’

New youth sports fields being built in Manson

Cory Caldwell, with Midwest Fence & Gate Company of Fort Dodge, works to place a pole that will eventually support the backstop for a new ball field being built near the Manson Northwest Webster High School.

MANSON — Next spring, when a youth baseball or softball player hits a home run in Manson, everyone on the field will know it.

That’s because the ball will be flying over all new fencing around two new ball fields near the Manson Area Community Center (MAC). The ball field that has been used most recently for youth baseball doesn’t have a fence. It has been used essentially as a parking lot for football games and Manson Greater Crater Days, according to Brandon Bush, co-chair of the Youth Cougar Club.

“We couldn’t put a fence around the field that was permanent because of the parking,” Bush said. “The ground that the kids were playing on was uneven. It just wasn’t conducive to youth sports.” Bush and Dave Pearson formed the Youth Cougar Club about a year ago to seek and create recreational opportunities for youth in Manson.

Work continues on a new ball field near the Manson Area Community Center. Two new fields to accommodate youth baseball and softball should be ready to play on by next spring.

“As part of the Youth Cougar Club, we wanted to establish a partnership with the school and city in Manson,” Pearson said. “We met with them, told them our vision and we looked at a lot of different aspects of this and one was fields and facilities.” So the Youth Cougar Club focused on adding quality ball fields. “We wanted to move those to the MAC Center to create a youth sports hub around the MAC,” Bush said. “It’s close to the school as well.” Pearson said the location is convenient for parents.

“Parents who want to work out can drop their kids off,” he said. Between the dirt work, fencing, bleachers, and grass, the combined project cost is about $130,000, according to Jill Nelson, who is a volunteer for the Youth Cougar Club. In Friday’s Messenger, it was reported that Manson was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation. The grant will be used for the city’s Youth Sports Complex Project, which includes relocating the two youth fields for baseball and softball. Nelson reported that more than $93,000 has been raised for the project to date. Those funds are a combination of the grant money and funding from the city of Manson and the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District. Over $25,000 has been raised through private donations. The school district and the city own parts of the land needed for the fields. Both entities have given approval for the project. “They were all on board,” Pearson said. “The community has been very supportive.” Bush added, “Our local community has stepped up in a big way.” Rasch Construction, of Fort Dodge, has been responsible for the design and dirt work. Midwest Fence & Gate, of Fort Dodge, is doing the fencing. Pearson said the price for fencing products has gone up. “With COVID, it really drove prices up on fencing,” Pearson said. “That’s been challenging.” The plan is to have the fields playable by spring. “We will get it seeded before it gets frozen yet and would like to be playing on them in the spring,” Pearson said. The fields will be able to accommodate tee-ball through junior high baseball and softball. “We will have two complete fields that Manson hasn’t seen,” Bush said. The city would also be able to host more home games and tournaments, Nelson said. The new fields come at a great time for a community that is gaining momentum, according to Pearson. “We are a booming community,” Pearson said. “We have a lot of positive things going on. Manson is getting more family-focused with these kinds of things. It’s a good community to get involved with.” To make a tax-deductible donation to the Youth Sports Complex Project, make checks out to the Fort Dodge Community Foundation with Youth Cougar Club in the memo. Checks should be mailed to the Fort Dodge Community Foundation, 24 N. Ninth St., Suite B. REPRINTED FROM THE FORT DODGE MESSENGER


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