Friday, May 27 , 2016, 1:24 am | Fair 58º

Major Gifts Launch Girsh Park’s Fields Forever 3 Capital Campaign

By Ryan Harrington for the Foundation for Girsh Park |

The Foundation for Girsh Park is asking the community to help improve the facilities at the Lester A. and Viola S. Girsh Park with the new Fields Forever 3 Capital Campaign.

This campaign will help better support the existing programs at Girsh Park, including Dos Pueblos Little League, AYSO soccer, DP Challengers and AYSO’s VIP Soccer Program, to name a few. Each of these nonprofit organizations has partnered to attain the goals of the Fields Forever 3 (FF3) Capital Campaign.

FF3 will build a field house in the Elings Fields Complex to support the programs that use those fields. The field house will contain a full-service concession stand, restrooms and storage for the programs to utilize.

Among the most important driving factors for this new campaign are the programs for special-needs children. The programs include DP Challengers, Challengers Flag Football and the AYSO VIP program. All children deserve a facility that fulfills their needs and allows them to participate in their favorite sports. This campaign will create better ADA access with proper walking paths, fully accessible restrooms, picnic areas and ball fields.

Girsh Park users currently utilize a portable restroom trailer generously furnished by MarBorg Industries. MarBorg answered the call for help three years ago when Dos Pueblos Little League and Girsh Park reached out to the community for a solution. This trailer is very temporary, and it is time to replace it with a permanent solution.

In addition to the field house, a covered group picnic area will be installed, the batting cage facility will be dramatically improved, ADA walking paths will be installed along with path lighting, the electrical capacity for the complex will be updated, and proper security cameras and lights will be installed to ensure the safety of users.

The original playground will be replaced with two modern age-appropriate playgrounds. The foundation believes the playgrounds will be a focal point for the park and utilized by children of all ages. All of these improvements will make Girsh Park a better place for the community to recreate.

The fundraising goal for Fields Forever 3 is $600,000. The campaign and construction are expected to be completed over the next 18 months. Several naming opportunities are available for the field house, group picnic area, batting cage and playground. The naming opportunities will be noticeable for the 350,000 people who use Girsh Park every year, giving campaign donors the recognition they deserve.

Two initial donations have officially kicked off the campaign. The Girsh and Hochman families have once again stepped up to the plate and donated $150,000 to FF3. Without the support of the Girsh and Hochman families, Girsh Park would not be what it is today. They have continually supported the park, and once again are assisting to make Girsh Park a better place for the community. Additionally, Dos Pueblos Little League has donated $10,000 to the campaign.

The Fields Forever Campaigns over the last decade have yielded significant net community benefit by improving the facilities at Girsh Park. In 2005, the original Fields Forever Campaign raised $6 million to purchase the 13-acre parcel at Phelps and Pacific Oaks roads. The facility was named Elings Fields at Girsh Park for the park’s most generous benefactors. This purchase permanently located the baseball fields that Dos Pueblos Little League so desperately needed, and increased the size of the park to 25 acres.

In 2008, the Fields Forever 2 Campaign raised $1.25 million to install a state-of-the-art synthetic turf soccer field. Girsh-Hochman Field, named once again after the foundation’s most generous donors, now allows year-round play with little maintenance.

With the community’s support, the Foundation for Girsh Park completed Fields Forever 1 and 2. With the community’s help, Fields Forever 3 will be a home run.

— Ryan Harrington is executive director of the Foundation for Girsh Park.

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