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Scheels puts name on ballpark in Grand Forks

The Grand Forks Scheels has secured naming rights for a youth baseball and softball complex with a gift of $250,000. The pledge provides a jump-start toward raising the $850,000 needed to begin building a four-diamond complex for girls fastpitch ...

The Grand Forks Scheels has secured naming rights for a youth baseball and softball complex with a gift of $250,000.

The pledge provides a jump-start toward raising the $850,000 needed to begin building a four-diamond complex for girls fastpitch softball, to be located just north of South Middle School, along South 20th Street between 42nd and 45th Avenues South.

The goal is to have construction starting in the summer of 2014, said Park District Director Bill Palmiscno.

In recent years, softball and Cal Ripken baseball teams have shared Apollo Park facilities, resulting in restrictions on leagues' growth.

With an additional $600,000 in donations, lights, scoreboards, a press box and other amenities will be added to the complex. And, to add a lighted Babe Ruth baseball field at the same location would require an additional $600,000. So, the complete project likely will require $2.1 million in contributions to the Building Fields of Dreams campaign.

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The plan is to raise the money through philanthropy and without raising taxes.

"This will give the kids in this great community more opportunities for competitive play but also better practice facilities to improve their game," said Jason Heintz, Grand Forks Scheels store leader, in a news release.

"This is a game-changer for our youth baseball and softball programs. Scheels is proud to be a part of this new complex."

Scheels is a privately held, employee-owned sporting goods and entertainment chain store headquartered in Fargo. It has 24 stores in nine states.

Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1125 or send email to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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