OTTAWA — Construction soon will begin on a new baseball field at the Putnam County YMCA.
“We are just waiting for the weather to break,” said Lori Fetherolf, YMCA executive director. The field is being built with the help of a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.
“This will be a great asset for the YMCA” said YMCA program director Brian Barhorst “We will be able to provide our own field maintenance, as well as have restrooms and indoor space in case of severe weather”
Along with the new field, the YMCA will have new equipment: baseballs, helmets, bats and especially bleachers for parents to sit and watch their kids play.
“We have also been able to get Jerry Lewis’s McDonald's to sponsor the league,” said Barhorst. “So after every game, the kids can wear their shirts to McDonald's and get a free ice cream cone.”
In addition to McDonald's, the Putnam County YMCA is participating in the Chevy Youth Baseball program, a grassroots initiative that establishes a positive relationship between local car dealers and the communities they serve. The YMCA will receive equipment and a monetary donation.
“We are just so excited about our future,” Fetherolf said. “To have McDonald's and Ottawa Chevrolet helping us provide for the youth in Putnam County is wonderful.”
The YMCA has plans to build an exercise and athletic complex consisting of a 3/4-mile walking track, soccer field and additional parking. Fetherolf said the walking track will go around the YMCA and Ottawa Elementary building. It will be 8 feet wide and will incorporate existing sidewalks at both buildings.
“We’re working on getting grants to fund this,” said Fetherolf. “I’d love to have this done this year also, but it all depends on funding.”
Fetherolf said one of the YMCA's goals is to avoid additional debt. The Putnam County YMCA is in the middle of a campaign to raise $1 million dollars to pay off its current debt. Fetherolf said it has raised $417,000 so far.
“So we are approaching this in phases with phase one being the baseball field. The other phases will be completed as we secure funding,” she said.