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Garaway Turf Project to begin late spring

A group of community members and school officials turned their attention in the fall to raising the funds necessary to fund a project that had been researched and considered for years, becoming only the second IVC school to install synthetic turf at the Garaway stadium.

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Because of the work and pledges of community individuals and businesses years ago as well as the generosity of the Baltic State Bank, the Garaway Athletic Boosters made the final payment on the Belden Center construction financing on Dec. 29.
 
The Belden Center houses the Senior Center, sports locker rooms, coaching offices, concessions, wrestling and lifting areas, public restrooms, a full kitchen, and community meeting and conference areas.
 
It is an educational, athletic and community complex that has no rival in the area. “The entire Garaway community benefits from this project on a daily basis, and we appreciate the efforts of the Athletic Boosters to complete the payments,” said Jim Millet, superintendent of Garaway.
 
In anticipation of finishing that project, a group of community members and school officials turned their attention in the fall to raising the funds necessary to fund a project that had been researched and considered for years, becoming only the second IVC school to install synthetic turf at the Garaway stadium.
 
“The price tag for the project — close to $600,000 before cost-saving in-kind donations are factored in — was daunting,” said Matt Mullen, turf committee chair. “However, the community response was overwhelming.”
 
A fundraising committee of approximately 30 people met with more than 100 businesses, individuals and foundations with ties to Garaway. “The members of our committee donated countless hours learning about the project and the benefits of turf and then meeting with people to educate them and then ask for a donation,” Mullen said.
 
In just over two months the pledges and donations received totaled in excess of $685,000, and by year end the booster club had more than $270,000 in hand.
 
“The community support and generosity to the Garaway Turf Project has been unbelievable. It is hard to fathom the fact we have been able to raise the funds to complete this project in such a short manner,” said Jason Wallick, head football coach.
 
In November, with the endorsement of Millet, who has been deeply involved in the project, Garaway's school board unanimously accepted the community gift and gave the green light to proceed.
 
“The close working relationship between the school district and athletic boosters made this possible. I am excited to see our students get a world-class field that will offer benefits from safety to performance resiliency as well as cost-saving opportunities,” Millet said.
 
The Baltic State Bank agreed to finance the project, based upon pledges. “This project would not have been possible without the financial backing of Baltic State Bank and the kindness of so many local individuals and businesses,” Wallick said.
 
Wallick and Chip Amicone, athletic director, headed a group, which spent hundreds of hours interviewing companies, visiting installed fields and negotiating favorable terms for the construction.
 
“We feel we have done our due diligence in researching the best product for the longevity and safety of our student athletes and are extremely excited about this project,” Wallick said.
 
“In addition to our football program, this field will benefit the band by providing unlimited accessibility, spring sports programs by providing early season practice opportunities and numerous local businesses by providing additional revenue opportunities as Garaway will surely have the opportunity to host OHSAA football tournament contests and bring many additional people into our community,” Amicone said.
 
By the end of December the group selected and the booster club approved a contractor and issued a letter of intent to proceed with construction on or near May 1 with completion to be within 60 days.
 
All funds received for this project have been placed in a separate account for the purpose of funding this project. Additionally all of the time and materials needed for promotion of the fundraising drive were donated separately.
 
In the event that funds are received in excess of the total cost of the turf installation, the remaining funds will be used for permanent improvements that benefit Garaway student athletes.
 
Donations and pledges are still being accepted for this project. Checks should be made payable to the Garaway Athletic Boosters Inc., P.O. Box 5, Sugarcreek, or given to any booster club member, Mullen, Wallick or Amicone.
 
The Garaway Athletic Boosters is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all contributions are tax-deductible.
 

Published: January 11, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180109967