Esko Turf Club scores big victoryThe Esko School Board has unanimously approved upgrading the district’s soon-to-be constructed football/soccer/youth/community field to an artificial surface.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The Esko School Board has unanimously approved upgrading the district’s soon-to-be constructed football/soccer/youth/community field to an artificial surface.
“Needless to say, it was a very emotional night for our club,” stated Russ Davidson, chairman of the project’s fund raising group known as the Esko Turf Club.
The group had earlier approached the school board with the concept of replacing the planned natural surface for the new field with artificial turf, citing safety, long-term cost savings and longevity, among other benefits. The group proposed to solicit private donations as well as funds from businesses willing to buy advertising at the field to help cover the approximately $400,000 price tag for the upgrade.
The board initially gave the group until Feb. 4 to come up with enough pledges to make the plan viable, but that deadline was extended until Feb. 12.
In his presentation to the board on Tuesday night, Davidson reported that thus far the group has secured 92 donations of $100-$400; nine donations of $500-$900; 95 donations of $1,000-$2,400; and 27 donations of $2,500 or more. In all, Davidson reported, the total individual amount pledged so far is $227,900.
He added that 28 businesses have agreed to purchase advertising at the new field, including 18 who have committed to five years at the $5,500 level and five who have committed to five years at the $3,500 level. The total advertising dollars pledged amount to $120,250.
The Pepsi Company has committed a minimum of $20,000 (though Davidson said the Esko Turf Club is hoping for $35,000), bringing the overall total of money raised to fund the project to $348,150.
The job of the Esko Turf Club, whose motto is “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the turf,” is far from over, however.
Davidson acknowledged there are additional expenses for the project, including payment for signage, the cost of a recognition wall for donors and compensation for passes – individual donors who pledged $1,000 or more are entitled to two free all-season sport passes.
“All this must be taken into consideration,” said Davidson, “which means our group continues our fund raising effort. We are headed for $450,000 minimum. It is my vision that we will reach $800,000 to have enough money to pay for the turf two times over!”
Davidson and his fellow Esko Turf Club members are gratified at the fruits of their efforts so far, and appreciative of all that the community has contributed.
“[This is] a huge expression of support from the Esko community and surrounding area,” Davidson summed up. “This is what I am most proud of – the community stepping up big time to do what is best for kids! Many donations came from Esko graduates as far away as Japan, Texas, etc. Oh, Facebook is a marvelous tool!”