It appears two deteriorated baseball fields at Center Street Park will undergo much-needed renovation work after all.
Realtor Beth Jaworski and WaterStone Bank recently announced they would each contribute $7,500 toward the renovation of the two athletic fields at Center Street Park, pushing the renovation project over its $60,000 goal.
The updated fields would be used by nonprofit Tosa Fastpitch Youth League this summer, an offshoot of the Tosa Baseball League. About 20 games are held throughout town every weeknight during the warmer months. The league, founded in 1971, already uses community baseball fields around town, including those at Longfellow Middle School and Brietlow Field, and has a shortage of spots to play in.
The $15,000 in donations from the two Wauwatosa businesses will join contributions from other entities, including $30,000 from Milwaukee County and $7,500 from the city of Milwaukee. Tosa Baseball League will also contribute $15,000 to the project.
The four-acre Milwaukee County Park falls within the city limits of Milwaukee, although three sides of the park border Wauwatosa.
The renovation project will fund upgrades like new fencing, dugouts, protective fencing and resurfacing to two softball diamonds at the park.
"Using a softball term, WaterStone and Beth were the closers for us on this project, stepping up to make sure the girls of Wauwatosa have great fields to have fun while learning the fundamentals of softball this summer and for years going forward," said Tosa Baseball League President Jim Hoefgen.
Funding for the project fell short in January when the Wauwatosa Common Council voted not to provide $7,500 toward the project in a 9 to 7 vote. Some council members said funding the project would not have been a wise use of dollars while others argued that the athletic fields at the park had fallen into disrepair.
If approved, the money would have been taken from the city's contingency fund. While the request passed by a simple majority, a two-thirds majority vote is required to use money from the city's contingency fund.
Following the vote in January, Hoefgen said the baseball league would likely have to scale back its planned renovation work if all the funding wasn't secured.
Those council members who voted in favor of the funding were Joel Tilleson, Michael Walsh, Jason Wilke, Kathleen Causier, John Dubinski, Tim Hanson, Bobby Pantuso, Matt Stippich and Gregory Walz-Chojnacki.
Alderpersons Craig Wilson, Cheryl Berdan, Allison Byrne, Jason Kofroth, Dennis McBride, James Moldenhauer and Jeff Roznowski voted against the proposal.
"We're incredibly excited about this project," said Dave Celata, president of the Friends of Center Street Park, a community organization that has made a number of improvements at the park including an annual spring cleanup, fall festivities and an ice rink.
"This will be a major catalyst for the park and a great addition to the neighborhood. Waterstone Bank's support of our community has been truly extraordinary and we are thrilled to have East Tosa resident Beth Jaworski support the park, too."
Renovation work is expected to begin in late March or early April and will reach completion in time for the upcoming softball season.