Basalt foundation donates $100,000 to Fields of Dreams |

Basalt foundation donates $100,000 to Fields of Dreams

A huge contribution from a Basalt philanthropist will help make sure that some midvalley kids who tragically passed away will never be forgotten.

The R.H. Crossland Foundation recently donated $100,000 to a citizens’ group called Fields of Dreams. That organization is harnessing funds and in-kind work to build athletic facilities that the school district says it cannot provide at Basalt High School.

The Crossland Foundation’s grant will be used in part for the ball fields. But it will also be used, at Rusty Crossland’s request, to build a memorial park near the high school.

The Basalt area has suffered at least five tragic deaths of school-age kids in the past two years. The memorial park in their honor will be built next spring. It will likely include benches, trees and probably a marble statue with the names of the kids, according to Fields of Dreams co-chairs Jo Gawrys and Leslie Newbury.

Newbury is among the parents dealing with the loss of a child. Her son, Erik, unexpectedly died one year ago from a rare medical condition.

The memorial park will be integrated with sports facilities under construction or planned.

Fields of Dreams has completed a baseball field that is in use this summer. Bleachers, scoreboards and other amenities are still on the wish list.

The Schuss Foundation of Basalt provided funds to start construction of a softball field.

Organizers are concentrating on getting a football field in practice shape by late summer. It is already rough graded. Top soil will be placed and sod laid in about a month, Gawrys said.

Guido Meyer Jr. is the construction manager for the project. Significant in-kind work has been provided by Aspen Earthmoving and T.J. Concrete Construction, Gawrys said.

The R.H. Crossland Foundation’s grant will help complete work on the fields. A plaque acknowledging the contribution in the name of Ralph Crossland, Rusty’s father, will be made at the complex.

Rusty Crossland and Frost Merriott, manager of the foundation, were also presented with the Fields of Dreams’ Shoot for the Stars certificate, awarded to donors of $100,000.

Remaining on the wish list for Fields of Dreams are a 4,000-square-foot building for locker rooms, concessions and bathrooms. They also want to provide a state-of-the-art running track.

To make donations or to find out more about Fields of Dreams’ projects, call Gawrys at 927-4411 or Newbury at 927-3174.

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