When your high school baseball team but lacks a field to call home, what do you do?
According to Mike Cavanaugh of the Field Of Dreams Project, you build them a new one.
"Upper Moreland High School used to have their own field, but now they're the only varsity program that doesn't play on site at the school," said Cavanaugh, who founded the Field of Dreams project along with Robert Casey and Ken Jennings. "We want to get it back to the school so more students can go to the games. They won a championship last year, but they don't have a crowd because most of the students can't get there."
The project is scheduled to break ground on the new field sometime in April, as they plan to grade and seed the field before summer arrives.
If everything goes according to schedule, they plan to install the backstops and dugouts over the summer and hopefully have work finished on the infield by the end of September.
The field will also be used by the Upper Moreland varsity soccer team and the lacrosse team.
The estimated cost of the entire project is between $75,000 and $100,000, but since the school district cannot afford to contribute to the funding and the township doesn't work on district-owned fields, the trio is on their own in regards to fundraising and seeing the project through to completion.
Cavanaugh says they've been able to raise nearly $20,000 so far, thanks to the Upper Moreland alumni, the Upper Moreland Little League and several corporate donations. He added that Jennings has committed some of his construction resources and manpower in an effort to offset some of the project's expenses.
"We have enough money to start the project, grate the property and put the seed down, but we'll have to raise more money before we put in the back stops, the dugouts and things like that," said Cavanaugh.
In order to continue raising money for the field construction, the project has a beef and beer scheduled in May, a Phillies road trip to Baltimore in June, and they have donation canisters spread throughout the area.
The project has also received some , who has decided to waive all related permit fees, but they have received no such support from Montgomery County, which requires thousands of dollars in fees.
"In regards to county permits and fees, we're talking about somewhere between $6,000 and $7,000 for engineer and permit fees before we even break ground," said Cavanaugh.
The group has also applied for a Baseball Tomorrow grant through Major League Baseball, but Cavanaugh said the grant typically requires matching funds, and they wouldn't know if their application was successful until July at the earliest.
Additionally, Cavanaugh - who is a current Phillies season ticket holder - said that they have discussed approaching the team for support.
Regardless of the outcome of their fundraising efforts, Cavanaugh says the field will be built one way or another.
"We're going to get the project finished no matter what," said Cavanaugh. "Whether it's a great field, a nice field or a serviceable field depends on how much money we can raise."
If you're interested in donating to the project or volunteering your time, you can reach Mike Cavanaugh by phone at 215-605-9211, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply go to their website at http://www.umfieldofdreams.com.