Junior Major League starts $50,000 campaign to buy fence

Now that the Milford Junior Major League has city permission to build a fence between two fields downtown, it can start fund-raising efforts to garner the $50,000 it needs to get the project going.

After spending more than a year trying to build a fence to separate two ball fields behind the Milford Public Library, the Milford Junior Major League finally got approval this month.

The ball field fence is really two fences that meet at a gate. League President George Spescha said the league did a lot of research on fencing after deciding to increase safety at the fields.

Spescha said the league couldn’t start raising funds until it got city approval. He thinks raising the funds will be just as challenging as it was getting all city officials to agree to let the league install the fence. The economy still makes raising funds difficult, he said.

The two fences will cost about $40,000, and concrete work will have to be done, too. The league estimates the high end of the whole project at $50,000.

The league will start the campaign soon by sending letters to families and local organizations asking for donations.

After that, Specsha expects there may be some fund-raising events.

He couldn’t say how long it will take to raise the money.

Regardless, the league is committed to seeing fund-raising efforts through.

Youths ages 4 to 12 play on the Bernard and Francis fields, which are back to back, and there’s a chance of balls being hit into one field from the other, league officials said. There’s also a chance that two players on different fields might run into each other running for fly balls.

“We were trying to be proactive in terms of safety,” Spescha said several months ago. Robert Wheway, a league member and engineer, repeated that when he spoke before the aldermen at a meeting this month.

Wheway also pointed out that having a real fence allows ball players to have the experience of hitting an over-the-fence home run.

The league initially wanted to put up permanent fencing at the fields, but met with resistance from the Milford Oyster Festival Committee, which uses the area for its summertime festival. So the league proposed a temporary fence that could be dismantled before and after the Oyster Festival.

League volunteers will be responsible for putting up the fence, taking it down and storing it, so there won’t be any cost or burden to the city. Also, metal sleeves into which the posts slide will be sunk into the ground and capped with a turf-covered top when the fence is down so there won’t be a tripping hazard, league members said.

For information on donating, call Spescha at 203-877-0460 or email him at President@jml.org. For league information, go to jml.org.