Ceraland Park followed the advice from the movie “Field of Dreams” over and over again.
Instead of “If you build it, they will come,” the park kept building and now has expanded to nine baseball and softball fields from its original three.
With another 10-year contract secured this week with the Bartholomew County National Little League, the park has guaranteed itself a steady stream of visitors.
“I think this has provided a great opportunity for (Bartholomew County National Little League) and us,” Ceraland General Manager Jim Kreutzjans said. “They get a facility that is ready to go all the time. The greatest benefit for us is seeing all the people.
“We’re a membership-based park so people get a chance to see all the fun stuff we have to do out here.”
Ceraland offers an indoor fitness center complete with two gymnasiums and outdoor facilities such as an aquatics center, miniature golf, a shooting range and a campground. Kreutzjans said the park is owned and operated by Cummins’ employees.
When BCNLL signed its first contract with Ceraland in 2003, the park had three diamonds dedicated mostly to softball.
“We weren’t using them,” Kreutzjans said. “Since then we added two more baseball fields in 2005 and four more in 2010.”
BCNLL President Matt Steinwedel is ecstatic about the new agreement. “Basically, what it means for us is that we have a place where we can feel we are established,” Steinwedel said. “Our Little League program is a county program and this is a great location. And the people who attend the games can also play some putt-putt, or can use the pool. I know it’s a great opportunity for them to showcase the park.”
The nine diamonds allows the entire league to have a home base. Steinwedel said the league used to have several sites with single fields and parents would get confused about locations. Now it’s one-stop shopping.
The first 10 years of the contract weren’t without some challenges. “We wanted to have a vested interest in how things were done,” Steinwedel said. “We wanted to be able to work on the diamonds.
“There were some learning curves, but it’s been a real benefit to have a cooperative effort with them.”
Kreutzjans admitted there was a little give-and-take that had to be accomplished. He had a staff that does maintenance on the fields and the property was, indeed, theirs.
“You always have your moments,” Kreutzjans said. “But I think the understanding was clear that we all are here for the kids.”
Ceraland allowed the the Little League program to be more involved with field maintenance and the league also added some dugouts. Ceraland currently is raising the height of some of the fields’ fences to make it safer.
Three fields at Ceraland are lighted.
Steinwedel said 512 children ages 4-14 have signed up to play this upcoming season.
“Things have gone fantastically well,” Kreutzjans said. “Bartholomew County Little League has been a great partner.”
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