Firefighters getting more involved in FOP little league

Collaboration of Elkhart police and firefighters unions expected to breath life into Little League park.
Posted on April 9, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — After a tough year last year, the old Elkhart FOP little league operation is getting a makeover and a new infusion of support.

The park has been renamed to FOP IAFF Heroes Little League Park to reflect a larger involvement from the Elkhart International Association of Firefighters Local 338, said Jim Ballard, a longtime Elkhart policeman.

The IAFF has both been involved in the past, but members of the police and firefighter’s unions are now taking a more direct role on the league’s board of directors, Ballard said.

The firefighter’s union had been sponsors in the past, “but it really got to be a lot of work for the FOP monetarily, so that’s one of the reasons we decided to join forces,” Ballard said.

The field is located south of Middlebury Street on Grace Avenue and north of Studebaker Park and Mary Beck Elementary.

The facility was broken into last spring and much of the equipment was stolen. Last fall, the facility sustained some vandalism, Ballard said.

Offenders from the Elkhart County work release program helped paint the concession stand last year and will be more involved in maintenance this year. On Saturday, a group from work release helped with some clean-up.

“We’re going to utilize them a lot more,” Ballard said. “That gives them a chance to get out of the work release center.”

Volunteers will be working to prepare the fields over the next few Saturdays.

The league is in need of sponsors, volunteers, coaches and umpires, Ballard said.

Registration is under way and will continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Elkhart Fire Department. Registration can also be done online at the league’s website at www.fop-iaff-ll.com.

The registration fee this year is $50 for one child, $75 for two children and $100 for three children.

For more information, contact Jason Ray at jrayepd@yahoo.com.

Opening Day is May 4.

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