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      An improved field could make Ottumwa a hub for baseball teams and tournaments

      Renovations to Babe Ruth Field would not only help the league and players, but economic development in Ottumwa.

      The Securing a Better Baseball Future Committee for Baseball Improvements is looking to raise money to improve and replace the facilities at the Babe Ruth Fields in Greater Ottumwa Park.

      Most of the field's facilities were built in 1971 and are in desperate need of an upgrade. The committee wants to buy a new building that will house restrooms, concession stands and storage all in one area. They can then use remaining and additional funds for continuing improvements and maintenance, including the score boards, bleachers, audio system and foul ball protection system.

      The committee is looking to the Ottumwa community to help raise $100,000 over the next month.

      "The best way that they can help right now in order to get this thing started by the beginning of November, end of October, is literally just a free-will donation right now," said Joe Schulz, member of the Securing a Better Baseball Future committee. "We have an email address set up that you can donate to and you can contact any of our board members."

      Developing this field will not only create excitement and build a better environment for the players, but will also directly impact the city of Ottumwa.

      "We're going to be able to be a hub in Southeastern Iowa for baseball teams that can travel from the state of Iowa, from the state of Missouri, our plan is to host multiple tournaments - weekend tournaments - which will be a big economic impact for the city of Ottumwa," said Holly Dommer, Securing a Better Baseball Future Committee member.

      Right now, the project is slated to get approval from the Ottumwa Parks Department next Tuesday and then the fundraiser is off and running.

      There are different levels of donation ranging from a one-time commitment to a three-year commitment. For more information or to donate, contact Schulz at 777-8525, Dommer at 799-0308, committee member Jane Berg at 777-4471 or Jason Blunt at 777-1041. You can also e-mail donations and questions to sbbf4@yahoo.com or send checks payable to Securing a Better Baseball Future (SBBF) at P.O. Box 1763, Ottumwa, IA, 52501.