LA CROSSE, WI – It may have been a brisk, fall afternoon with no baseball game scheduled at Copeland Park on Tuesday but that didn't stop several interested fans from making their way out to the Lumber Yard to see the progress on the infield construction.
The Loggers hosted a Turf Construction Party on the DJ's Vogue Sports Deck on Tuesday afternoon where Ted Monken from AstroTurf gave an inside look into the new infield installation process while fans looked and walked on the surface as the construction phase reached its midway point. UW-L Eagle officials also addressed the crowd as their baseball team prepares to play at Copeland Park in 2014 for the first time on the turf infield. La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat, along with councilmen Ryan Cornett and Andrea Richmond, were also on hand for the festivities. Construction is on schedule to be completed by mid-November.
Festival Foods founders Dave and Barb Skogen announced back on July 30 that they have donated $300,000 to the La Crosse Loggers and UW-La Crosse athletics for these significant improvements at Copeland Park. When all is said and done, Copeland Park will feature a brand new expanded first base dugout, an expansion to the existing third base dugout and a brand new synthetic turf infield from AstroTurf.
Copeland Park hosts approximately 200 events each year, including more than 125 games not involving the Loggers or UW-La Crosse. Other major users include La Crosse Central High School, Western Technical College, American Legion baseball, and the Stars of Tomorrow. Other local high schools and youth leagues also make significant use of the facility. All will benefit from the new artificial playing surface, which drains quickly, minimizing the risk of canceled games due to inclement weather and reducing the length of rain delays.
In May 2012, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Athletics and the La Crosse Loggers announced a new partnership. The Loggers agreed to provide an annual donation to support UW-La Crosse Baseball, which had university funding for its head coaching position terminated in 2009. In exchange, UW-La Crosse agreed to assist the Loggers in raising funds for needed improvements at Copeland Park, a City of La Crosse-owned facility that the Loggers have called home for the club’s first 11 years.
The artificial turf playing surface is the first of several facility improvements envisioned by the Loggers and the Eagles. Anticipated projects include installation of a video board and construction of batting cages. All facility improvements will be funded entirely with private resources; no taxpayer dollars will be used. Fundraising for these additional projects is ongoing.