Updates to the Manning City Park Little League complex give the boys and girls of summer a first-class field for play. The work done complements the newly construncted Warren H. Timmerman shelter house in Manning’s City Park, enhancing the center of the community.
Updates to the Manning City Park Little League complex give the boys and girls of summer a first-class field for play. The work done complements the newly construncted Warren H. Timmerman shelter house in Manning’s City Park, enhancing the center of the community.
Thursday, June 24, 2010

There will never be an appearance made by Shoeless Joe Jackson or the Chicago Black Sox, but thanks to those iconic images, Iowa is well-known for its love of America’s sport and communities continue to see that reflected in their youth.

In 2009, the Manning Little League program saw an increase of 22 players from the year before. This year, it saw another increase in participation and now has 141 boys and girls who play across 12 teams from T-ball to senior league.

This rise in numbers meant that the league needed to look at ways to update and improve on its facilities at Manning City Park.

 “If you have a program with that many kids out, you have to have the facilities,” said Mindi Boyle, treasurer of the Manning Little League organization.

Last summer, the league applied for a grant from the Warren H. Timmerman Charitable Trust in order to demolish and rebuild the concession stand, update safety features and lighting on the field, install a new scoreboard, add curbing and sidewalks as well as other improvements.

“We had a total grant of $42,500,” Boyle said. “The Timmerman grant gave us $30,000, and we had to come up with the rest.”

The league was required to find donations, both cash and in-kind, to reach the $42,500 mark or it would not receive the money from the charitable trust.

Boyle and the rest of the league officers were concerned about being able to raise that amount of money in only a couple of months, but it turned out they need not have worried at all.

“There has been a lot of support,” she said. “We got $4,000 from the Community Foundation of Carroll County. Bauer Construction sent a few guys over when they were roofing to help with that. The Manning Chamber donated and the Walmart Foundation donated. We got the Lampe Trust grant, Carroll Refuse gave us a donation and the Manning Little League contributed funds along with all the other local donations we had.”

After ensuring that they would be able to go ahead with the work last fall, city workers began by filling in an underground walkway that went from the field directly into the side of the hill that was used to access storage.

This spring, the work for the city crew began in earnest on the new concession stand, a building that has been designed to complement the entire park.

“We went with a split face block with a similar color to the shelter house,” said Manning’s operations manager John Ohde. “We didn’t do the exact same construction, but the roof is the same pitch, it has the same overhang and the shingles are the same color.”

There will also be a new sign that emulates the one on the park’s shelter house that will name the park the Warren H. Timmerman Sports Complex.

The new concession stand, which also houses men’s and women’s bathrooms, is a source of pride for the league and the community.

“It is so much bigger, and we have hot running water,” said Boyle. “There is a microwave in there now, a nacho machine, we have the liquid cooler and a freezer for freeze pops. We were able to add so many other items.”

In addition to the new building, the field saw the installation of a new scoreboard from Coca-Cola that has added benefits.

“The scoreboard is wireless,” Boyle said. “We can have an adult stand up in the concession stand and run the scoreboard.”

The whole project, however, hinged not only on the hard work of the four city workers who put in countless hours when they could, but also the many volunteers and donations of in-kind labor that were received.

Volunteers completed installation of yellow vinyl protective covering on top of the outfield fences, and the local fire department has made a generous offer.

“The firemen have volunteered to work a day for us,” said Boyle. “Part of the grant was to redo the bleachers. We have ordered Permacap, which is like a tough vinyl that goes over the wood base. I think that is what we are going to use the firemen for.”

But even with all the volunteer labor, there has been one factor that has hindered the progress they are able to make with the project, the weather.

“We have had a lot of rain delays,” said Boyle.

“Bear with us as far as the mud. It is a struggle around here with all the rain we have been having,” added Ohde.

But he is optimistic that the final work on the bathrooms will be completed this week and that the rest of the work will be finished this year. It just may take a little longer than expected.

“I guess we will be here for another good week or so,” Ohde said of his four-man crew, “then we have to go on to other projects. So, it probably won’t be completed until fall.”

Once construction is completed, all that is left to make for one very impressive mid-city complex are the finishing touches.

“This year, we knew it was going to be a tough year getting it all to work,” said Boyle. “Once we get the bleachers done, get some grass going and get some landscaping done, it should be a really nice facility. By next year it should look really nice. And if the program keeps growing, I am hoping we will keep a really good tradition going.”