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Alden-Conger awarded Twins Community Fund grant to help renovate softball and baseball fields

The Alden-Conger baseball and softball programs each received $7,500 to improve their respective fields in Alden. The funds come from a matching grant set up by the Minnesota Twins Community Fund.

The collective $15,000 will be added on to the money already being spent to renovate the fields from the referendum set in place in early 2019.

Brian Shanks, the superintendent of both the Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons school districts, said the idea to apply for the Twins Community Fund grant came about when the idea to renovate the fields came up over a year ago. However, it was head softball coach Lisa Ziebell who brought the idea forward again in January.

“Lisa brought it to my attention,” Shanks said. “She said, ‘I have been part of this in the past. I have done these grants in Glenville, and I’ve been on the committee that has awarded these grants. I think this is really something we should do for the softball fields.’ So I said, ‘Absolutely, go ahead.’ I really gave her the green light to move forward with the idea.”

While Ziebell worked on the grant proposal for the softball fields, Shanks decided to also write one for the baseball field.

By the time the proposals were being written, Shanks said roughly $100,000 had already been spent in an effort to repair the fields.

Before the referendum to make a number of improvements to the school was passed, both the baseball and softball fields were in dire need of improvements, according to Ziebell.

Some of the improvements being made include the outfield being elevated to make the field level, sodding, an irrigation system and tiling, new dugouts and a new backstop.

The Alden-Conger baseball and softball programs have been in a cooperative agreement with Glenville-Emmons for three and two years, respectively. Before the new renovations, it was not possible for the teams to have a game in Alden-Conger because of the poor quality of the fields and the lack of dugouts.

“I totally don’t mind going to Alden,” Ziebell said. “The only drawback I had was the field. Now it’s to the point I don’t have any issues. I think it’s great.”

In upcoming seasons, home games will be split between Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons based on the percentage of players from each school.

While the softball field will be home to the Knights, it is technically owned by the city, and Shanks said the public is more than welcome to use the fields when they are not already in use.

“The town has been very supportive,” Shanks said. “The Alden-Conger school district has been very supportive. The community has been excited to see all the work that we’ve done. It’s going to be a benefit to everybody.”

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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