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The original item was published from 9/22/2014 9:24:31 AM to 10/7/2014 12:05:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: September 22, 2014

[ARCHIVED] New digs: Spot overlooking city in store for local baseball

Pieces are falling in place for a new field and venue – one more directly overlooking the city – to American Legion baseball in Butte.

Butte-Silver Bow has committed $100,000 in trust money to the project so far, the Legion has pledged $50,000 plus seats, fencing, infield dirt and at least 2,000 hours of volunteer labor, and together they hope to snag corporate cash through naming rights.

If all plans pan out, folks can go to the Copper Mountain Sports Complex and watch Butte Miners baseball at night from seats formerly in the Butte Civic Center and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

“We’re bringing together all our resources so this is a public-nonprofit entity agreement, and then it looks at trying to enhance that by getting a private entity to help us,” said Parks Director E. Jay Ellington. “We’re trying to connect all three of those together.”

Mike Semmens, manager of the Miners, said the whole community could be winners with little or no direct costs to taxpayers.

“We are trying to make this a joint venture where we can use the labor from parents and anybody else, any volunteers, to get this field and facility built,” he said.

Unlike football and basketball, there is no high school baseball sanctioned by the schools themselves in Montana. The American Legion fills that void for many communities with A and AA division baseball teams, the latter for student counts above 1,000.

The Miners, an A division team now, used to play at the Alumni Coliseum baseball field at Montana Tech, but stopped after the 2012 season. That’s when Tech added turf to its football field, which was also the baseball stadium’s outfield.

Infield clay and other equipment stored since then will be taken to Copper Mountain, where a softball field will be reconfigured as a baseball field and positioned with batters and fans facing a more northeasterly direction.

That’s a better orientation for baseball fields to minimize blind spots from the sun and it would give spectators an expanded view of the city. For the past two years, the Miners have played on a Babe Ruth field at Copper Mountain that faces the rocky rise called Timber Butte.

The outfield will be moved back for the new field and existing fencing will be replaced with that from the old Tech facility, Semmens said.

The county is tapping $100,000 from an ARCO trust settlement fund, which is tied to past mining pollution, for the first phase of the project.

Last week, the Council of Commissioners approved a $17,458 contract with Pioneer Technical Services of Butte to provide a topographical survey and field and stadium layout plans. It will include detailed plans for fencing, drainage and irrigation on land that used to be a landfill.

Read the full story in the Montana Standard
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