NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Aug. 24, 2022) – New Philadelphia city officials are hearing more about plans to fully renovate the high school baseball field at Tuscora Park.
City council member Kelly Ricklic is a co-founder of the For the Love of the Game Committee working to make this a reality. He says the idea started about five years ago.
Ricklic showed council design drawings and explained that phase one would include new dugouts, a new backstop, a 25-foot-long scoreboard, and a new turf infield that would hold up better during springs in Ohio.
“Approximately 50 percent of the games are usually rained out, which then makes you play doubleheaders and backs your games all up,” Ricklic said.
That work is expected to cost about $500,000. The committee has already been able to raise over $8,000 in just a week’s time. Committee members aren’t asking council for any financial contributions from the city at this point. They will primarily rely on fundraisers along with grants and private donations.
“I’ve had more support than I ever could believe we could get on this project,” Ricklic said.
Ricklic says the scoreboard is in phase one because it would generate advertising revenue to spend on the latter phases as well as projects elsewhere at Tuscora Park. The ability to host baseball tournaments at all age levels would also generate income for the work.
He says phase two would add seats, restrooms, a press box, and a sound system.
Phase three would put turf in the outfield and install a new black chain-link home run fence that would be 16 feet high and about 15-to-25 feet closer than the current one, depending on the section.
“Moving in, you’re still going to have to hit a ball 310-20 feet to get it over the fence,” he said. “Those fly balls that get caught at the fence are going to bounce off the fence, and now you’re going to have to play baseball.” “It’s trying to make a more exciting game,” added Ricklic.
Ricklic says the project would also cut down on some expenses for the city in the long run by switching to new LED lights and by reducing the need for maintenance and labor at the field.
Ricklic says if they secure the funding, construction on phase one projects could begin at the conclusion of the upcoming baseball season. Additional phases would also take place during the offseason times.