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Enumclaw scores grant for stadium

Leaders of Your Enumclaw Area Stadium Improvement Committee were celebrating Thursday night as they gathered to talk through the ins and outs of the $200,000 NFL Grassroots Program grant they have received.

The news of the grant started filtering through the system April 21. By that night’s school board meeting, chairmen Chris VanHoof and Rick Bathum couldn’t wait, they had to make an announcement. The news was shared with John Wise, the third chair, who was out of town.

“This is good news in hard times,” Bathum said, adding what a wonderful day it was for the community. “We’re applauding a lot of people who worked hard on this.”

The grant will be used to install a synthetic, state-of-the-art, playing surface at historic Pete’s Pool.

YEAS started the application process in October. The field is expected to serve community soccer and football organizations that use the Enumclaw Expo Center stadium.

The grant, which was awarded through the Seattle Seahawks, will cover some of the field costs, but not all. A fundraising campaign has been under way and will pick up steam in the coming months. The total cost to renovate the field alone is estimated at more than $500,000.

Earlier in the process, Mutual of Enumclaw committed $50,000. More recently, a $10,000 gift from the Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich Family Foundation Fund arrived, as well as in-kind donations from local construction companies.

The grant stipulates work has to be competed within 18 months, but the details of when the time frame begins and other caveats were not available.

“We’re very grateful to the NFL and the Seahawks,” VanHoof said. “This is a great step to getting this project done.”

Now the work begins. The YEAS committee, which includes business leaders, city representatives, school district officials, coaches and a number of outside sources who have done similar projects in other communities, started putting together a plan Thursday. The plan includes a number of other grant opportunities with the bottom line to have the field completed by fall 2011.

A synthetic, all-weather surface is Phase 1 of the planned stadium improvements. The second phase calls for 2,000 addtional seats, concessions, locker and rest rooms, a score board, sound system and press box.

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