BIGFORK — Aero Lane Park in Bigfork is being renovated thanks to a big donation.
Repairs to county parks are costly, and those costs come out of taxpayer pockets. But with private donations like this, the much-needed improvements get completed without impacting taxpayers.
“Aero Park is an important part for the community because so many baseball players come out here and this is where the older, oldest baseball players play for Bigfork, and it has been needing these repairs,” said Flathead County Parks and Recreation director Chris Maestas.
Aero Lane Park is where the 11- and 12-year-old players for the Bigfork Youth Baseball Association play.
Thanks to a $20,000 donation — along with volunteers and equipment from the American Rental Association and the Toro Company Foundation — the field is getting a new backstop, bleachers and infield material.
“Oh, it's totally impactful," said American Rental Association Foundation executive director Marcy Wright. "And just to know that we are helping local communities, especially we focus on under-served areas a lot of the time, to be able to get back to them and to have the kids be able to come out and play on a field like this is exactly what we're trying to accomplish here."
Aero Park is one of over 70 parks that Flathead Parks and Recreation is in charge of maintaining, and a renovation like this is a costly project. Donations like this one help keep costs down.
“Our budget is pretty tight and we don't want to put the burden on the taxpayer. So, we have to operate and be fiscally responsible in order to make sure that we can upgrade these parks the right way," Wright said. "That's why it's so important that ARA stepped up with the donation and the volunteers to help us upgrade this for the youth here and Bigfork."
Crews are working fast to get this project done and ready for kids to hit the field and the project should be completed in a few days.