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Published: 10/20/2004

Oregon: Ousky Field gets face lift

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Oregon's Ousky Field at the Coontz Recreation Complex is getting a face lift.

City Council unanimously OK'd spending $40,063 for the project from the parks and recreation department's capital improvements fund early last week, and Athletic Field Services, Inc., a local sports turf contractor, began renovation work on Monday.

The field is near Oregon's Municipal Building, 5330 Seaman Rd.

The infield, turf, and grades will be reconstructed and a warning track will be added so players realize they are getting close to the fence when chasing a foul ball, said Recreation Director Joe Wasserman.

The company will also upgrade the irrigation system and add new sports turf options, such as crushed red stone turf instead of dirt in the infield playing area.

Bedford Fencing has already prepped the field by moving the existing backstop back 27 feet and adding poles to extend the area behind home plate to 50 feet.

It provided additional fencing materials down the sides of the field for a total cost of about $10,000, Mr. Wasserman said.

AFS plans to remove the existing sod and turf, which is damaged and uneven, and will replace it with topsoil and dirt. It will use a laser grade system to make the field gradually slope from the pitcher's mound to the fences, and will upgrade the sprinklers and the underground irrigation system.

The grass infield was put down before the laser-grade era, so AFS will need to bring in sod to adjust these areas.

"It's not true and smooth, and there's lots of ruts and divots," Mr. Wasserman said.

Ousky Field will be designated as a high school and collegiate field, so there will be 90-foot baselines and the home plate area and pitching mound will be adjusted to be regulation-size.

Mr. Wasserman said the field already has new fencing, fencing fabric, and lighting, and renovating the playing field was the next step.

AFS installed the playing surface for Fifth-Third Field in Toledo and has renovated several fields for schools in the Big Ten Conference.

It refurbished several minor league ball parks in its 10 years in business, said Joseph Zelinko, vice president and co-founder.

Mr. Zelinko said he hopes to be done renovating Ousky Field in early November.

"They have some expertise working at our facilities," Mr. Wasserman said. The company worked on two of the field's diamonds last year. "Their expertise is going to move this good-sized project along very quickly."



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