New grandstand and upgrade at Carl Kuss Field in West Bend
The West Bend Common Council emerged from closed session Monday to confirm a plan is in place to provide funds in a matching grant for improvements to Carl M. Kuss Field at Regner Park.
The deal includes a healthy grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.
“The schools district went out to get a $500,000 grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and that’s a game changer for the project,” said West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) approved by the Common Council will be official once the other organizations approve it. According to Sadownikow, the decision was “easy” from a financial perspective.
“What it entails is $100,000 in cash from the city and there will be at least $75,000 in work we can do with demolition to the existing field and knocking down the grandstand,” said Sadownikow. “We spend somewhere between $60,000 and $75,000 a year to maintain the field so by eliminating that we’re paying for our investment in two to three years.”
Sadownikow praised the West Bend Baseball Association for donating “tons of time and energy” with money and scoreboards and field work. “I’ve been involved in five years of discussion, but getting the $500,000 grant is very important and what the MOU recognizes is $175,000 from the City of West Bend, $100,000 from the West Bend School District and $35,000 directly from the WBBA.”
The remaining balance of the first $500,000 will be privately raised.
There are a number of local supporters of the project including Prudence Pick Hway whose family’s ties to baseball and Carl M. Kuss Field go back to when the grandstand was first located at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
“My grandfather Carl Pick was a big supporter of baseball and he paid to have the grandstand moved, disassembled and reassembled from the Fairgrounds to where it is today at Regner Park,” Hway said.
“This is a tremendous project. Baseball in this community has a rich history, it has all the fun of the boys of summer and it’s very important to many, many contingents in the public.”
The timing of the project is critical for West Bend. In March 2018 the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association announced summer baseball in the state of Wisconsin was officially dead. In 2019 all high school teams will move to spring ball.
Willie Mueller, President of the WBBA, said the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation was the big key to getting the project over the hump.
“The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation only does little league diamonds but when we approached them on this they looked at the history and the grandstand and what the project is going to look like when it’s done and they wanted in,” Mueller said.
The project, according to Mueller, is similar to when Rick Riehl hired Mueller and Doug Gonring to coach at Concordia University in Mequon. “The facilities there were terrible for Division 3 baseball,” Mueller said.
“Then Kapco came in with Robin Yount and Bob Uecker and we upgraded that field to a $3.2 million state-of-the-art facility and people came in hand over foot to play.”
Mueller acknowledged the same thing is happening in West Bend. “This is a huge deal for us,” he said. “There will be artificial turf and we will be talking about naming rights and there are a lot of people in the community getting behind this for the high school kids. It’s really a great deal.”
Fundraising for the remaining balance is in the works. Those details should be released in the coming weeks.
West Bend Park and Rec Director Craig Hoeppner said he hoped the work on the field, should all the remaining financial factors fall in place, could begin as early as August.
“If this project can be fast tracked the work could start as early as late summer or early fall,” he said. “The high school season goes through July and the Land O’ Lakes teams will play until August but knowing we’ve been waiting for this for the last 30 years… we could go as early as August or sometime within the next 18 months.”
Hoeppner said while there is a historic component to the grandstand that would be the first thing to go. “The grandstand dates to 1898 and then in 1937 it was moved to Regner and it’s not that there are safety concerns… it’s just well past its useful life,” he said.
It was January 2016 when the West Bend Baseball Association talked about fundraising $500,000 to improve the baseball stadium at Regner Park.
Craig Larsen with the WBBA said the new facility “would have better seating, be ADA equipped, and have a high-end press box.”
“Hopefully 2016 marks the year that the needed work can begin to make an already beautiful park, a place that can stand another 75 years,” he said.
The Memorandum of Understanding, dated May 1, 2018, is between the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, the City of West Bend and the West Bend Public School District.
The partnership between the organizations details construction of a synthetic turf high school baseball field.
Laura Jackson, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in the West Bend School District, submitted the note below. “I just wanted you, our staff, and our community to know that the district received a copy of the MOU last night. We have made no commitment and have had no discussion of this topic.”
Look at the history of the grandstand at Carl Kuss Field
The 2018 Washington County Fair is still a couple months away but let’s take a brief trip back in time and run a history check on the first fairgrounds and an interesting part of local history featuring the old wooden grandstand.
The original County Fairgrounds were in West Bend near Wilson Avenue and North Street from 1858 – 1937; where Fair Park School is currently located.
A photo from the History Center of Washington County provides a unique look at the grandstand as it overlooked the dirt racetrack. There were actually two grandstands at the County Fair. The other, according to an article by Jack Anderson, “provided seating for the fair’s baseball diamond.”
Believe it or not, it was the grandstand that helped draw attractions and added attendance to the County Fair, but that facility also added the most financial burden as well.
Some of the programs at the grandstand, according to archives at the History Center of Washington County, included surrey races, auto racing, an afternoon livestock parade, “plowing contests with both horses and oxen.”
Another photo from circa 1910 courtesy You Know You are From West Bend, shows the two grandstands and the surrey racing on the track.
It’s interesting to note the tidbit from the West Bend Democrat in 1898. The brief cited the attendance and the ‘long needed grandstand’ but also noted “A number of farmers …. were fleeced of their cash.. as a gang of pickpockets plied their trade.”
The fairgrounds fell into foreclosure in 1937. An article in the WBBA program from 2012 noted the grandstand was “disassembled and used to build the smaller, 108.9 foot by 26.1 foot grandstand at Carl M. Kuss Memorial Baseball Field.”
Etiquette for Memorial Day Parade
Neighbors across Washington County are being asked to stand and remove their hats when the U.S. flag passes at the start of Memorial Day parades on Monday, May 28. The day, also called Decoration Day, is for observance in memory of dead members of the armed forces of all wars. Today’s 1924 history photo is of an American Legion parade. West Bend’s Memorial Day Parade steps off at 9:30 a.m. from Main and Oak Street.
Planting underway as MOWA Cultural Campus takes shape
It’s as if a mini nursery set up shop in the driveway of the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, that’s as 700 Quaking Aspen trees are prepped for planting.
Dwain Bartel is crew leader with David J. Frank Landscape in Germantown.
“The trees weigh up to 300 pounds and we’ll be planting them along the walkway and the north side of the building,” said Bartel. “This is going to take us quite a few months to plant all of them.”
Bartel said the trees came in from Oregon and other places around the state.
“The color of the leaf is yellow and those will shimmer in the wind, especially in the fall,” he said.
The current grove of trees line the south end of the parking lot. The root balls are covered in woodchips to help retain the moisture.
There are two acres of vacant land just south of MOWA on Veterans Avenue. Plans are to add mature trees and flower beds and have a paved walkway that flows gracefully from the bridges over the Milwaukee River through the park and to the museum or the Eisenbahn State Trail.
Some of the plants on Veterans Avenue and Water Street include white oak, flowering pear, sugar maple (the state tree), hydrangea beds and an Aspen grove.
The stellar moment will be at the point of the building would be a field of white hydrangea with a line of Quaking Aspen trees.
The field would bloom July 1 to September. MOWA will be the care taker of the cultural campus.
Dollar General bomb-threat scam
Early Tuesday afternoon a report was posted about bomb threats being called in to Dollar General stores in Campbellsport, West Bend and in Fond du Lac and Dodge County.
West Bend Police just posted an update: WEST BEND POLICE MEDIA BRIEF BOMB SCARE Dollar General – 1120 E Washington St
On May 22, 2018 at 10:37AM, the Dollar General Store received a threat by telephone in which the caller stated that there was a bomb in the store and demanded money be transferred via prepaid credit cards. Dollar General Store management recognized this as a scam and called West Bend Police. No suspicious devices or objects were found. No one was injured. This is a scam known to law enforcement throughout the country.
Similar incidents were reported today around the same time at Dollar General Stores in Waupaca and Campbellsport. West Bend Police Investigators are working with law enforcement from the Fond Du Lac County Sheriff Department and Waupaca Police Department to identify the source of these calls.
If any area business receives a similar call they should immediately notify law enforcement.
In Campbellsport, Police Chief Tom Dornbrook said his department took action immediately when the Dollar General on Grandview Avenue received a call at 11:46 a.m. “The person calling the store said there ‘was a bomb in the store and don’t call police,’” said Dornbrook. “When that statement was made the employee set the phone down, cleared out the store and called us.”
Campbellsport Police responded along with six deputies and a sergeant from Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department.
Text by Campbellsport School District
Dornbrook said schools in the community including Campbellsport Elementary, the high school, middle school and St. Matthew’s went on lockdown and the Kid’s Clubhouse Child Care Center was evacuated.
During the investigation authorities discovered the same store in West Bend, Beaver Dam and Waupaca all received similar calls. “The only difference was their employees all stayed on the line and it turns out this is a scam because they told the other stores to fill out pre-paid VISA cards,” Dornbrook said.
“Even though this is most likely a hoax it was a good test of our response system and we’re really happy with that. The people I feel the worst for is the firemen and EMS who gave up their day jobs and will lose time on their paycheck,” he said.
Campbellsport Fire Department, EMS, Eden Fire Department, and Fond du Lac Sheriff’s all responded.
Special ceremony Sunday, May 27 for Korean War vet Merlin Heinecke
As part of the Sunday, May 27 memorial service on the cemetery of Zion Ev Lutheran Chuch, 6430 County Road D, Allenton, the service and sacrifice of Merlin A. Heinecke, MIA in Korea on December 2, 1950, will be acknowledged with the placement of a cemetery monument with VA bronze marker and a flag presentation in his honor.
No marker was ever placed in the cemetery at the time the military declared him dead. Korean-era veterans from Washington County went to South Korea to visit the UN Korean memorial, on which his name is also placed.
Cemetery service, honor guard and flag presentation will take place after Zion’s regular Sunday service, which ends at 10 a.m. This will be a very brief service, as the honor guard is scheduled at other churches, as well. There will be a short reception after the service, for which some displays are being set up in the church fellowship hall. Refreshments will also be served.
Local Girl Scouts recognized with Silver Award By Ana Murray
On May 18, 2018, Keriana Murray, 14, of Jackson, Brynn Bauer, 14, and Madeline Toney, 14, of West Bend were recognized at the Area 240 ceremony for achieving their Girl Scout Silver Award.
Each girl had to give 50 hours to develop a sustainable program that would impact their community. After hours of planning, preparation, soliciting and collecting donations and then using their cookie-sale proceeds to buy materials they were able to complete their project of bringing educational materials and games into the hands of home bound and mentally disabled adults and family centers servicing families in need.
DACO announces entirely employee owned
DACO Precision-Tool, 8565 US-45, in Kewaskum is preparing to announce the company is now 100% employee owned. “We will be putting up two new signs on our building next week and celebrating our 100% employee ownership,” said DACO General Manager Austin Weber.
DACO was founded in 1984 by two 50/50 partners Randy Weber and Lloyd Kanzenbach who decided to transition the company to employee owned.
The sign install is scheduled for Tuesday, May 29 or Wednesday, May 30. Signworks in Hartford helped with the layout and install.
Updates & tidbits
-In October 2017 it was first announced on WashingtonCountyInsider.com that a new Firehouse Subs was coming to West Bend. The build out at 1733 S. Main Street is nearly complete and the new restaurant owned by Sharon and Bob Erickson will open May 30.
-The FREE Adult Swim Lesson week is coming up at the Kettle Moraine YMCA. Whether you are a seasoned swimmer or just starting out, there is a class for everyone. If you haven’t had a chance to register for any classes yet, there is still time.
-Signs for the new Don Ramon Mexican Restaurant popped up over the weekend at 501 Wildwood Road in West Bend. The former Mother’s Day/ Dairy Queen location will soon be home to the restaurant owned by Felix Sanchez. It was last month when WashingtonCountyInsider.com broke the story about the Mexican restaurant from Mayville opening its section location in West Bend. Don Ramon has a large menu. “We’re authentic Mexican, tacos are our specialty and we marinate and cut our own meat,” said Sanchez.
– Saint Gabriel Parish celebrated the culmination of its $5 million campaign with a groundbreaking Sunday morning for the new education center. The church, located on Highway 164 in Hubertus, titled its campaign ‘Many parts one body.’ The education center will be attached to the church allowing the two facilities to be on the same grounds as in the past. The center is scheduled to open in January 2019 in time for the second semester of Saint Gabriel School.
-Veterans from Washington County participating in the June 2 Stars & Stripes Honor Flight include: Herman Ross Sr., Vietnam War Navy, of Hubertus, Ralph “Buzz” Schlass, Vietnam War Army, of Jackson, and Melvin Schultz, Korean War Air Force, of Slinger.