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2 major-league alumni donate $105,000 to construct Perrysburg ball field

Two former Perrysburg Yellow Jackets - one who is now a Tiger and the other, a Marlin - have committed to donate toward construction of a new baseball field at Perrysburg High School.

Jim Leyland, Perrysburg native and manager of the Detroit Tigers, and his family - wife, Katie, son, Patrick, and daughter, Kellie - have committed to donating $100,000.

And Burke Badenhop, a pitcher for the Florida Marlins, has committed to donating $5,000 to the project.

"We are delighted that two of our outstanding alumni have made this commitment," Superintendent Thomas L. Hosler said.

"We can't thank Mr. Badenhop and Mr. Leyland and his family enough for such a generous tribute to their alma mater," Mr. Hosler said.

Mr. Leyland graduated from Perrysburg in 1962, and Mr. Badenhop is a Class of 2001 graduate.

Estimated cost for the field, which will be in the southwest corner of the athletic complex off of Fort Meigs Road, is about $343,000.

Perrysburg Athletic Boosters have been preparing the site and have contributed more than $200,000 in fieldwork such as surveying, land preparation, drainage, and well irrigation, according to Ray Pohlman, Perrysburg Schools' athletic director.

If Perrysburg voters pass a 1.9-mill, five-year permanent improvement levy during the Tuesday election, the baseball field would be one of several projects tackled by the district.

Funding for the new ball field would be a blend of the private dollars, contributions by athletic boosters, and permanent improvement funds, Mr. Hosler said.

Such a blend is positive for the district, and "we will continue to do that as much as possible," the superintendent said, particularly given the economic climate.

Mr. Hosler said no timetable is set for the proposed permanent improvement projects.

Permanent improvement funds can be used for bricks and mortar or to buy buses and educational equipment.

But they cannot be used for staff salaries, educational programs, or other day-to-day operations.

Proposed projects for 2011-2015 include energy-conservation measures; roof-and-parking-lot maintenance; sidewalk repairs, and air conditioning at Frank and Toth elementary schools.

Plans also call for construction of a softball field and a track at the high school.

Most varsity sports take place at the junior high. Last year, the junior high baseball field closed temporarily until screen netting was erected after a baseball hit a car on a nearby highway.

Constructing athletic facilities at the high school would address safety concerns and eliminate costs to transport varsity teams to the junior high, Mr. Hosler said.

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