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First Harrison hits homer with $50,000 for sports park field

First Harrison Bank will give Friends of Harrison County Youth $50,000 over the next three years to build and sponsor a baseball diamond at the new Keller Sports Park next to the new YMCA of Harrison County family recreation complex in Corydon. Both the Keller Sports Park and the YMCA facilities are in the early stages of construction.
Aaron Smith, director of marketing for First Harrison Bank, made the announcement of the gift last week.
Andy Lasky, treasurer of the Friends of Harrison County Youth, said his group anticipates similar support from other banks, corporations and businesses, which will earn them the right to name a field or sponsor a shelterhouse or other structure at the site.
Last season, the Friends of Harrison County Youth ran baseball and softball programs for 544 players, boys and girls, from age five to 15.
The fund-drive phase for individual or general donations will start later, Lasky said. There will also be an opportunity for individuals or families to buy bricks bearing their names that will be part of a special walkway. Bricks will sell next spring for $50 each.
The Friends group, which has run its summer program for years at creek-bound Rice Island Playground in Corydon, has a development budget of $831,580.
The Eli Lilly Foundation of Indianapolis has already kicked in $160,000, and the Harrison County Community Foundation has contributed $68,000. The Friends hope to take advantage of other grant opportunities, Lasky said.
The county will provide up to $300,000 in infrastructure and road needs to the recreational complex.
One Babe Ruth League diamond, three Little League diamonds and two Tee-Ball League diamonds will be located on the eastern edge of the 44-acre Keller Sports Park. The west end of the park will be devoted to YMCA soccer fields of various sizes. Parking will go in between the athletic fields. The YMCA swimming, therapy, exercise and indoor track facilities will be built in the 15-acre tract just to the north of the Keller Sports Park.
The YMCA is in the midst of a $500,000 fund-raising drive which will conclude Dec. 31.
The old soccer fields were used by 300 kids in the spring and 400 in the fall. The new fields should be ready next fall, and the diamonds will be ready for league play in the spring of 2004.
The YMCA buildings are expected to be ready in January 2004.