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Glenn Pursley, Published June 13 2012

Ulen ballpark gets renovation

Ulen, Minn.

The sun was shining Wednesday as the community gathered in Ulen to celebrate the completion of the town’s freshly renovated baseball field.

A wavy outfield, a dip in right field and no fences has haunted the field that baseball and football teams have called home for nearly 30 years. But with the help of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund’s Fields for Kids program, the locals were able to pitch in and help raise money for the much-needed repairs.

“The field has really taken a beating,” said Dustin Flaten, summer recreation director of Ulen-Hitterdal’s schools. “We’ve been practicing for 30 years.”

The community received a $10,000 matching grant from the Twins that covered the following upgrades to the field: new grass for the outfield, a new infield, dugouts and new fencing. The community was able to come up with the money to match that through donations from area businesses.

Therese Vogel, who is the Ulen-Hitterdal Community Education Director, wrote the application to the Twins Community Fund and oversaw the process.

“We had to get businesses and organizations in Ulen and Hitterdal to contribute,” Vogel said. “The Ulen Building Supply and West Central Ag really helped out, but there’s a lot.”

Flaten was in charge of getting renovations done on schedule. He credits the hard work of volunteers for getting the job done.

“We had to look for a lot of volunteer help, and you take it when you get it,” Flaten said. “We had individuals step up and help when needed, and we are very grateful for that.”

Vogel sees the completion of the field as an opportunity to keep kids interested in the sport and possibly host tournaments in the near future.

“When the boys and girls get old, they tend to be less interested in ball,” Vogel said “We hope to expand and promote baseball and softball enough so they can continue to play as adults.”

Forum reporter Glenn Pursley can be reached at (701) 241-5558.