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Published: 8/14/2003

Bedford stadium funding a winner

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

LAMBERTVILLE - The resonating “clinks” and “kerplunks” heard around a few dozen area Bedford Township businesses doesn't have much of a beat and is pretty hard to dance to, but it is music to the ears of the Bedford Alumni Association.

The silver gallon and quart-sized paint cans are the latest in an ongoing campaign to raise money to repay a $1 million loan from 1997 to pay for building the Bedford Community Stadium.

“It's the kind of thing where we don't measure the results immediately. That change might not mean much to people, but it can sure mean something to us,” Alumni Association President Chuck Faller said.

The stadium was a gamble more than six years ago, and it took tremendous effort and contributions from the community to make it a reality.

Alumni Association member Gene Stock, who has chaired the stadium committee since its inception, estimated the true value of the facility at just under $3 million, even though it cost far less to build because of labor and material donations from local individuals and groups.

But the stadium's true value is probably best measured not in terms of dollars and cents, but in how much it is used, Mr. Faller said.

“I think it's extremely important. I think it's a very proud point for both Bedford Public Schools and the community,” Mr. Faller said. Not only does the stadium host football games and track meets at a number of different levels, but it hosts the annual fireworks display and is used extensively as a walking track.

“It's a place to be enjoyed,” Mr. Faller said.

The association remains well ahead of its payment schedule on the note, which was taken out in the school district's name, but which the association vowed to pay for privately, said Ted Magrum, Bedford's assistant superintendent for finance.

With this year's payment already made, Mr. Magrum said the district has about $488,822 remaining to pay on the loan.

Still, it has taken scores of hours of hard work and dedication by a small cadre of people to get the loan paid off, Mr. Faller said. The paint cans represent a way that community members can put their two cents into the project.

In past years, the Alumni Association has held a number of annual fund-raising efforts, selling everything from candy bars to commemorative bricks. The group has hosted celebrity dinners, dances, auctions, and raffles to raise money for the project.

Kristyn Thiesen, executive director of the Community Foundation of Monroe County, which oversees the stadium fund for the Alumni Association, said the fund has remained active through the years. “We've had contributions consistently coming in, both large and small,” Ms. Thiesen said.

The paint cans were donated by Lambertville Do It Best Hardware. The store's owner, Tim Oswald, said the donation was just the latest way his family has gotten involved in the stadium project.

“We got involved through my father, [the late Richard Oswald]. He was a Bedford alum, and he got heavily involved in the stadium project, so it was just kind of natural that our family would carry on,” Mr. Oswald said.

In addition to the cans, the Oswald family has donated the paint to make the red and gray trim lines around the stadium's brick facade, as well as the grass seed for its playing field and one of the goalposts, Mr. Oswald said.



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