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BASA donation aids in lighting up soccer fields
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

September 06. 2013 9:30AM
With the simple flick of a switch – or a set timer – soccer is now being played under the lights in Brandon.

The new lights were briefly celebrated at a check presentation prior to the start of the varsity games between the Brandon Valley Lynx and O’Gorman Knights last week.

Representatives of the Brandon Area Soccer Association gave $80,000 toward the $220,000 lighting project. On behalf of the city, Mayor Larry Beesley gladly accepted the donation.

“Your association has been the model we use for others (associations) when they come to us,” Beesley said.

BASA President Chris Limmer said the organization cherishes its partnership with the city and school district.

“We appreciate our relationships with the city and the school, and the new lights we have this year makes it all come together,” he said.

BASA member Jayne Knochenmus played an instrumental role in securing grant and corporate funding for the $1.1 million soccer complex that opened in August 2009.
Four major sponsors – who received field naming rights – include First Premier Bank, Home Federal Bank, Taco John’s and Alliance Communications. Representatives from each were on hand Monday evening.

“There are a lot of thank you’s to a lot of people that were involved in making this possible for the kids,” Knochenmus said.

The partnership between BASA an the City of Brandon has proved to be a positive one. In two and a half years, the two entities made it possible.

“Things like this don’t happen without the city getting behind this and the community getting behind this … it’s all for the kids,” said past BASA president Mark Schweitzer.

City Administrator Bryan Read adds, “It’s always nice when there’s a public-private partnership that funds amenity infrastructure.”
Without BASA’s assistance, Read said the McHardy Park Soccer Complex would not be the complex it is today.

“We wouldn’t have been able to fund the project,” he said.

One last item on the complex’s “to do list” is paving both parking lots.

“Everything else is in that I’m aware of,” Read said.

Partnering with the city, the BASA played a significant role in helping to fund the $1.1 million facility. The city pledged $400,000 of its 2009 budget to the complex, and prior to that, invested over $200,000 to the endeavor. The BASA also raised funds for the complex by securing corporate sponsorship from First Premier Bank, Home Federal Bank, Taco John’s and Alliance Communications, totaling more than $200,000. In addition, BASA pledged $50,000 of its own funds and has gained additional funding through grants, fundraisers and local business support. And the group continues to make annual donations.

Representatives from the City of Brandon, Brandon Area Soccer Association and corporate sponsors gathered for the lighting ceremony and an $80,000 donation to the endeavor Aug. 26 at the McHardy Park Soccer Complex. Pictured are, from left: Barb Sperlich, Barb Fish, Roger Brooks, Carrie Coyle, Chris Limmer, Mayor Larry Beesley, Tammy Stanghor, Jayne Knochenmus, Sandy DeZeeuw, Joel Eiesland, Barb Hansen, Myles Beacom, Gary Schweitzer and Todd Antrim. Photo by Jill Meier

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