Circle Jan. 28th on your calendars. It's a day of celebration if you've ever had anything to do with Little League baseball in Carson City.
On that night, there will be an open house starting at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the brand-new 6,000-foot indoor baseball training facility at Governors Field. It took more than a decade for Carson Little League to raise approximately $240,000 for this much-needed project, but there still is a little more work to do.
League officials want to raise an additional $50,000 to put field turf on top of the existing cement floor throughout the whole facility and to have high-tech motorized batting cage nets so players can practice more than just hitting in the building. They are hoping to raise some more funding on the 28th.
Because Governors Field is on city property, CCLL officials will turn the keys over to the city's Parks & Recreation Department. The city will be responsible for maintenance and repairs. Youth baseball will get priority in scheduling, however.
Make no mistake about it, this has been a labor of love that was started by Tim Terry back in 2001, and without love from area businessmen and local government people, this project would have been doomed, according to Don Smit from Carson City Little League.
Smit said the project was contracted out to SMC Construction, a a general contracting firm with offices in Reno and Carson City.
"I don't think one guy that worked on this project made a nickel," Smit said. "Normally, you would have to pay between $390,000 and $420,000. The building/contracting industry has taken a big hit (in our economy) and they are the guys that stepped up to the plate."
One of the most heartwarming stories Smit told me was about Capitol City Concrete, which went out of business minutes after delivering cement to the site.
"They gave us a $40 a yard break on the concrete for our foundation," Smit said. "They stayed open long enough to sell us the concrete and until the driver got back from the delivery and then closed up shop (for good)."
That's only the tip of the iceberg, according to Smit, who didn't start working on the project until the fall of 2009.
Architect Gordon Aloiau, Aspen Engineering (mechanical engineers), Construction Design Service (electrical engineers), Manhard Consulting and Peak Engineering (civil engineers) all worked free of charge. Ditto for the folks who supplied the glass an insulation for the building. Ditto for all the sub-contractors.
That's a lot of love which will benefit the children of Carson City for many years to come. The businesses' who helped with this project are all heroes and they deserve kudos from everybody.
"If just one group hadn't come through this wouldn't have happened," Smit said. "Everybody has been so great to work with on this project. It's not just a building, it's about a community coming together."
Terry said he wasn't sure if the project would have gotten done without Smit.
"He's done a wonderful job," Terry said. "If I hadn't moved on (to be District 1 administrator), it might not have worked out. Don got us across the finish line. He knew so many people."
Terry, the current District 1 administrator and a lawyer in Carson City, got the project started. Terry was a member of CCLL for many years, serving both as a coach and board member.
"We leased our first warehouse in 2001, and that was the genesis of it," Terry said. "We had formalized plans drawn up several years ago."
As late as 2009 the project appeared to be stalled, however, and the league was looking to use its money toward leasing off-site warehouse space yet again. That's when Smit got involved and he thought that the on-site building was doable.
"We did a re-design and that took up almost all of 2010," Terry said. "This has been a long time coming.
"We got a lot of people to donate money, time and materials. Without that none of this would have been possible."