Philo plans unveiling of grandstand

PHILO — The Philo Ball Park Association will hold a ribbon cutting/grand opening ceremony at 2 p.m. June 22 to unveil the new athletic park grandstand at Hale Park.

The event will serve as the official kickoff for the facility, which has undergone major renovations for the first time since the Philo firemen created the ball diamond there in the late 1940s.

Village Trustee Steve Sapenfield, who is also treasurer of the Philo Athletic Association, said construction is about 95 percent complete. Work that remains to be completed includes wiring for the sound system and security lights, seeding of grass and raising the fence to prevent foul balls from going into the new grandstand.

The ceremony will include a brief presentation. Each of the local youth baseball and softball teams has been invited to play an inning on the field, weather permitting. Concessions will be available, and the Philo firefighters will being cooking and giving away hot dogs.

Two travel teams are using the stadium, which the ball park association rents, and two tournaments are planned there this summer.

"We've had a lot of people from other towns inquire to use it," Sappenfield said. "It's going to bring a lot more exposure in. Last week, we had a team from Bloomington, and the parents were just in awe that a community like this could have something like that."

Last September, an anonymous donor put up the funds to upgrade the existing diamond on North Harrison Street to include a seating area modeled after one in Canton, Ill.

The new aluminum bleachers have a seating capacity of about 250 and have backrests. Handicap-accessible bathrooms were added to the concession stand, and the new bleachers are also handicap-accessible. The bathrooms were also remodeled.

The Philo firemen still own the property and lease it to the village.

 

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