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Published: 7/29/2004

Genoa: Volunteers' efforts put football stadium near goal

Volunteers put up the last light for the stadium. In the background with the press box on top are the home team's stands. Volunteers put up the last light for the stadium. In the background with the press box on top are the home team's stands.
SIMMONS / BLADE Enlarge

GENOA - The new football stadium at Genoa High School is taking shape as volunteers continue to work toward opening night Aug. 27.

The stadium on the high school campus is a project directed by the Genoa Athletic Boosters. The Comets ended a 70-year tradition last fall of playing at Bergman Field, located in town. Prior to Bergman Field in 1933, the team played at other locations in town when school began football in 1924.

The press box was lifted into place Saturday above the home seating section.

The stadium will seat 1,500 on the home side and 500 on the visitors' side but is built for expansion. The lights, goal posts, and scoreboard from Bergman Field have been moved to the new location.

The stadium's budget is $430,000 and is being mainly funded through a $300,000 loan taken by the boosters, according the Bill Skilliter, club vice president.

Also included in the funding is $80,000 from the sale of Bergman Field to the village; $25,000 collected from an insurance settlement when some bleachers were destroyed by weather at Bergman Field; and an improvement fund of $20,000 by the boosters.

"There has been about $90,000 donated from community resources, equipment and labor from local businesses and contractors," Mr. Skilliter said. "With the exception of electrical installation and the installation of the home stands, it's all been done with volunteer labor.

"Right now we have 90 volunteers but can always use more."

The field will be used for soccer as well as football until a soccer field can be funded and constructed.

"It has already been used in previous years

"It has already been used in previous years as the soccer field," Mr. Skilliter said. "And now with the installation of lights we will be able to have Saturday night soccer games for the first time."

The old stadium will not be forgotton. A Bergman Pavilion will be built adjacent to the concession stand and will feature photos of Bergman Field and history of Genoa football. Another added touch will be on the east end of the stadium, where poles will be erected for a flag of each team in the Suburban Lakes League.

The Comets are scheduled to play their first game at the new stadium Aug. 27 against Oak Harbor.

To help pay off the loan, the boosters have organized a Goal Post Gala for Aug. 13 at Genoa Banking Co., 801 Main St., Genoa.

The event raised $25,000 last year, Mr. Skilliter said, and the club hopes to do even better this time.

Tickets for the gala are available at the Genoa Savings and Loans main branch.



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