Build Our Ballpark Earns 2013 Cedar Valley Partner Award

Posted by on Mar 12 in News

Organization Honored by Alliance & Chamber

WATERLOO, IOWA (March 12, 2013) – Earning the 2013 Cedar Valley Partner Award from the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is no small feat. But neither is developing and restoring 15 baseball and softball fields. That’s why Build Our Ballpark was deemed a deserving recipient of the prestigious award.

The Cedar Valley Partner Award recognizes an organization that promotes economic growth and employment, quality of life, offers leadership or makes outstanding contributions to the Cedar Valley and its citizens on a continuing basis or with a specific project.

The Alliance & Chamber presented the award to Bob Hellman, Build Our Ballpark Founder and Executive Director, at a ceremony Thursday, March 7, at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo.

“We are pleased to be one of many Cedar Valley partners to help develop first-class playing fields for our youth to play baseball and softball on, and to attract tournaments to this great community,” said Hellman. “And to be recognized with an award like this is truly an honor.”

Build Our Ballpark’s mission is to improve kids’ lives by providing the opportunity to learn teamwork, strengthen character and build pride by playing baseball and softball.

Hellman said he began the organization in 2008 to share his love of the game with the youth of the Cedar Valley and give them the chance to learn the quintessential all-American sport.

“As a little league player years ago, I remember I lived for baseball,” said Hellman.

He hopes Build Our Ballpark has a long future, rallying the support needed to build more ballparks and improve existing fields.

Not only do the fields add value and a source of pride to their neighborhoods and communities, they also attract visitors and additional revenue for area businesses.

In 2012, the existence of these ballparks drew the College Softball Exposure Classic’s 50 teams, a Labor Day fast pitch tournament of 33 teams and dozens of youth baseball and softball games to the area.

Mark Gallagher, Waterloo Leisure Services Sports Manager, said youth participants in baseball and softball have increased from 1,200 to 1,600 since Build Our Ballpark began.

“We used to have to call and beg teams to come here and play,” said Gallagher. “Now they call us to book tournaments on our fields.”

On hand to accept Build Our Ballpark’s award at the Alliance & Chamber event were Bob Hellman, Mike Ruane, Michelle Temeyer, Ryan Risetter, Alli Ingman and Randy Pilkington.

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