MOUNT VERNON -- The Mount Vernon Baseball Association and the Minnesota Twins are partnering to bring upgrades to the Mount Vernon Baseball Park.

On Monday, the Mount Vernon Baseball Association announced the Minnesota Twins Community Fund Twins Fields for Kids program awarded an $8,500 matching grant for upgrades to its baseball facilities.

The grant is the culmination of a long process to raise appropriate funds to upgrade the baseball field.

“We are so excited and grateful that we got the grant,” Mount Vernon Baseball Association President Darcy Deinert said. “Because we can finally do some important work that needs to be done and has needed to be done.”

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The baseball association will raise $8,500, while the Twins will match the same amount for a total of $17,000 worth of upgrades. The grant will allow for the first phase of upgrades, including new, in-ground dugouts and a concrete backstop. The other phases will include an irrigated grass infield and potentially turning areas of the playing surface, which currently features a dirt infield.

“It’s a long-time coming, for sure,” Mount Vernon amateur baseball manager Deric Denning said. “If you kind of look around the area, everyone has seemingly made upgrades. Alexandria, Corsica, Canova and other towns, of course. So we are kind of a little bit behind in that aspect. We knew we had to do something.”

Action between Mount Vernon Mustangs and Redfield on Tuesday, June 29 in Mount Vernon. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Action between Mount Vernon Mustangs and Redfield on Tuesday, June 29 in Mount Vernon. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Becky Klooz, the association’s finance manager, was instrumental in the application process with the Twins. The association submitted pictures of their current field and listed the desired upgrades. The Twins based the matching grant amount off the upgrades submitted.

The Twins program provides financial support to improve baseball and/or softball facilities for youth in the Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida. The program makes matching grants to nonprofit organizations and local government units that operate baseball and/or softball programs.

Since its inception in 1999, the program has granted nearly $5 million to improve more than 850 Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida ball fields.

The program will be administered by the Minnesota Twins Community Fund staff who review all requests, pay matching grants, work closely with grantee organizations to ensure completion of the projects and maintain program records.

Matching grants up to $15,000 are available for the renovation or construction of baseball and/or softball fields.

“We’ve talked about it for quite a few years and filled out some grants and never had one accepted,” Klooz said. “We kind of quit for a while and I have been on the baseball board here 11 years and we’ve tried a couple of times. This one we kind of talked about it and what we really want to do. The only way to keep a small-town baseball field going is through tournaments and the revenue you bring in.”

Once completed, the association plans to submit bids to host postseason tournaments across multiple levels for both baseball and softball. The VFW Teeners, Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney Legion and High School teams and the Mount Vernon Mustangs all use the field. It’s also used by youth baseball and softball teams.

Up next, the association will begin accepting donations and financial backing to support the upgrades. The first phase is anticipated to be completed by next baseball season.

Action between Mount Vernon Mustangs and Redfield on Tuesday, June 29 in Mount Vernon. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Action between Mount Vernon Mustangs and Redfield on Tuesday, June 29 in Mount Vernon. (Matt Gade / Republic)