By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SYRACUSE — Baseball and softball games were interrupted Saturday afternoon for the dedication of the Harold Schrock Athletic Complex in Syracuse.
Dick Pelletier told the teams it was time to officially dedicate the new complex for the community.
“Harold Schrock died a year ago, May 14 at 97. He had a high level of compassion with a sense of family and community,” Pelletier, fundraising chairman for the complex, said. “He was a people person and gave back to the community with an open heart. He believed in family and taught his children well. Harold and Doug (Schrock, son of Harold), from our family to yours, thank you.”
Pelletier smiled as he shared about the next phase of the project.
“I call it Phase 2 and it’s working on lights for two fields, hopefully in the fall, we’ll have the lights on,” he said.
There are dugout roofs to be put on yet and bleachers are needed to be installed, as well.
The Pee Wee program started at the same field 22 years ago, added Chris Cotton, Pee Wee football coordinator, during the dedication.
“It has come full circle and I look forward to being back this fall,” Cotton said.
Dave VanLue, President of the park board, told the crowd he mowed the grass at the facility years ago for a summer job, played on ball teams as a youth and has been a coach.
“I’ve spent a great part of my life on these fields,” VanLue said. “This is a wonderful addition to this town and I feel like a small part of this. It’s happened quickly and not two or three years like we thought.”
It has four baseball fields and two tee ball fields designated for the Kiwanis baseball and softball teams, as well as a football field where Wawasee Pee Wee football will be played. A fitness track along the outside of the complex is open to the general public.
As the president of the Syracuse Town Council, Bill Musser spoke to the crowd with pride in his voice.
“When a community comes together through donations … hard work and persistence to reach a goal, it is something that we all can be proud of,” Musser said.
He said the facility will bring visitors from far and wide for softball tournaments and help the local economy.
“I am proud to be part of a growing community with the addition we have here,” Musser said. “I am proud of a community that cares enough about its youth, because after all they are the future of our town and by setting the example that many people have done by volunteering and giving of their sweat, their time and their money, they have truly proven that Syracuse is a nice place to live.”
Musser looked around the fields with some bare spots of grass still growing.
“When the grass fills in, it will make a great place,” he said.