Rockies are a hit in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Rockies are a hit in Basalt

Midvalley residents have a good reason to cheer the Colorado Rockies, even if the baseball club has fallen on tough times on the diamond.

The Rockies provided a $64,000 grant that will allow completion of a baseball field and related amenities at Basalt High School, according to Nick Alcorta, a member of Fields of Dreams, a citizens committee working to provide the athletic amenities at the school.

Alcorta said the funding came from three sources. The Rockies required that $25,000 come from Basalt. Those funds were raised by the Basalt High School Boosters Club.

In addition, former Rockies pitcher Mike Hampton contributed $26,000. He initially was going to donate the funds to a project in the Front Range but it fell through, according to Alcorta.

Members of the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund asked if the funds could be transferred to the Basalt project, and Hampton approved the move, Alcorta said.

His contribution was made before he was traded this fall. After a solid start in 2001, Hampton found that pitching in Denver wasn’t to his liking. After a dismal season this year, he was traded to Florida, then shipped to Atlanta.

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The final $13,000 of the grant came from the McCormick Foundation, a nonprofit organization operated by one of the owners of the Colorado Rockies.

Alcorta said Basalt was fortunate to get the grant because the Rockies foundation concentrates on Front Range projects. To the best of his knowledge, this was only the second project supported on the West Slope.

Alcorta, the high school baseball coach, said the funds will be used to create a first-rate baseball facility at the high school.

When the school was built in the late 1990s, the school district didn’t provide athletic facilities due to lack of funds. Fields of Dreams was created to harness volunteer work and financial contributions from the community.

The grant through the Rockies will pay for a fence that surrounds the field. Roaring Fork Fencing took a chance by providing the materials and work even though there was no guarantee the funds could be raised, Alcorta said.

The funds will also provide bleachers, a scoreboard, final touches to the dugouts, work on the bullpen areas as well as topsoil for the field.

Alcorta said the Rockies asked for nothing in return for the grant. Fields of Dreams had three banners made which will be hung on the fence during baseball games.

Other projects being eyed by Fields of Dreams, pending approval by the school district, are additions of bleachers, a concession stand and possibly locker rooms for the football field.

Work on a softball field is also scheduled to be completed by fall 2003.

[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com]