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City seeks $18,000 grant for rec fields

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The city of Ogdensburg is turning to Major League Baseball for some help to spruce up its fields of dreams.

The city council on Tuesday endorsed an application from the parks and recreation department for $18,000 from MLB’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a program dedicated to promoting the growth of youth baseball and softball activity in the United States.

“Another aspect of the fund is providing proper infrastructure and equipment for baseball facilities,” according to Matthew J. Curatolo, the city’s parks and recreation director. “That’s where we are looking for help.”

If the application is approved, the department would buy a Gator HPX (utility vehicle) and several tow-behinds that, Mr. Curatolo said, would help improve the condition of the youth fields at Montroy Park on the city’s west side and other city recreational fields.

“Tow-behinds include a spreader, which would allow staff to put down seed and fertilizer to improve field conditions, a roller that would keep fields flat and level, an aerator that would aerate the soil, improving drainage and reducing soil compaction and an infield groomer that would be used to improve the infields,” Mr. Curatolo said.

No local matching amount would be required. The maximum amount of the application is $40,000.

“What we wanted to do was get the initial equipment,” Mr. Curatolo said.

The application deadline is April 1. The city should know its status in July and, if successful, will get the grant in August.

“While roughly 400 requests are made in the year and only 10 percent are usually awarded grants, we hope that ours will be chosen,” Mr. Curatolo said.

“The ultimate goal for this grant is to improve the baseball fields at the Clifford Montroy Youth Complex, commonly known as Montroy Park,” Mr. Curatolo said. “Montroy Park has three baseball diamonds and is the home of a variety of Kiwanis programs such as Little League and other programs such as T-Ball, Introduction to Softball, Junior Grasshopper, Grasshopper, and Farm League programs. In 2012, a total of 510 children participated in these programs.”

The grant request has been endorsed by the Ogdensburg Kiwanis Club and the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club, both of whom will be providing letters of support for Mr. Curatolo’s grant application.

The parks and recreation department also sponsors a week-long baseball camp at Montroy Park coached by Ogdensburg Free Academy personnel for both boys and girls. Over the past two years, 214 youths attended this camp, Mr. Curatolo said.

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