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Fundraiser Aims To Rehab, Maintain Park

POSTED September 25, 2012 10:51 p.m.

Tough times call for innovative thinking and that’s exactly what’s happening with the Oakdale Youth Sports Association fundraiser blitz as they attempt to raise the funds necessary to spruce up one of Oakdale’s hidden gems: Kerr Park.

Tucked away on the outskirts of the city, Kerr Park is a shaded park with picnic areas, softball fields, and play structures. It’s the place where softball teams play and the city holds the annual Safety Fair and Easter Egg Hunt, but the city has been struggling to find the funds for maintenance, much less improvements and that’s where the Oakdale Youth Sports Association has stepped up to the plate.

To that end, the fundraiser event will span two days, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6 and 7 with live music, a yard sale, horseshoes, and a pancake breakfast.

For $20 per person, a ticket holder will receive one event T-shirt, two pancake breakfast tickets, yard sale and family activities.

The yard sale will take place at the Oakdale High School parking lot from 7 a.m. to noon both days. The pancake breakfast will be at Kerr Park from 7 a.m. to noon on both days. Tickets are available at Oakdale Color Center, 1080 W. F St., Oakdale or Steves Chevrolet, 1285 E. F St.

Family friendly activities will go from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days at Kerr Park. Tickets can also be purchased at the event.

“Our goal is to take over the maintenance and fundraising for Kerr Park,” Joe Peterson said. Peterson is the spearhead behind the movement and an adamant supporter of youth sports, particularly softball. “We’re hoping to save the city $35,000 to $50,000 a year.”

The Oakdale Youth Sports Association was formed to facilitate the building and management of T.L. Davis sports complex. Currently, the organization is putting the finishing touches on some improvements to T.L. Davis such as a snack shack and restroom facilities and is ready to take on a new project.

Peterson took his vision to members of the Oakdale City Council, which included a massive overhaul of the park with the addition of a new field, field turf, new lighting, a snack shack and restrooms as well as the pursuit of grant funds in the future and they agreed unanimously with his vision.

The Association would be in charge of managing and maintaining Kerr Park, which includes renting out the park for tournaments, something that has never been a viable option up to this point due to a lack of amenities.

“Our goal is to generate money for the city by hosting tournaments. We can bring a lot of teams here with the right amenities,” Peterson said.

Peterson approached Steves Chevrolet as a corporate sponsor for the event fundraiser and Jeff Steves, a staunch supporter of local youth sports and activities, was intrigued by the idea. After some checking on his own, Steves was happy to lend his support.

“I think it’s pretty neat,” Steves said of the idea. “Kerr Park is a nice park that needs help and the city needs outside help. I totally believe in Joe’s project, passion and heart to make this work. Kerr Park is a special place. I’m behind it 100 percent.”

Steves added, “The community has been so good to us for 38 years. This is just our small way of giving back. It’s our privilege to do this sort of thing to help. Sometimes we wish we could do more.”

Within two weeks, Peterson had three storage lockers filled with items for the yard sale. All proceeds will benefit the proposed Kerr Park project.

Peterson is still looking for companies that are interested in stepping up and getting involved at all levels.

To donate items for the yard sale, contact Ackley Circle E-Z Store at 209-848-8609.

For more information, call Joe Peterson at 209-595-3531 or email at jpeterson@astepabovepainting.com.

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