December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Boosters raise funds for Ely Stadium improvements

ELYRIA — When the Elyria Pioneers have a home game, they play at Ely Stadium.

The Friends of Ely Stadium group has started a campaign on the website indiegogo.com to raise funds for artificial turf for the stadium.

The Friends of Ely Stadium group has started a campaign on the website indiegogo.com to raise funds for artificial turf for the stadium.

It’s old, but well-maintained and stuck in the middle of a residential neighborhood on the city’s south side. While some would say it’s good enough, a couple of Elyria High School supporters want to see something better.

Using a fundraising technique that is picking up steam called crowdfunding on indiegogo.com, Doug Medvetz and Bob Dupont are trying to raise $200,000 toward a renovation project that could cost around $700,000.

Both envision a field of artificial turf, a resurfaced track and updated seating.

They have started a group, Friends of Ely Stadium, to handle the fundraising but know they will need the Elyria public to get on board.

“If everyone in Elyria or everyone interested could just donate $25, we could pay for the entire project,” said Medvetz, a 1999 alumnus. “This crowdfunding attempt is independent of Elyria Schools. We just want to do something for the kids as a community.”

Crowdfunding is where people put out a request online with the hope that multitudes of people will donate small amounts toward the cause.

Dupont said he was sparked by the idea to renovate the stadium after visiting Midview High School’s Ross Field in Adelsberg Stadium. He wouldn’t call his reaction “stadium envy,” but more as a challenge to Elyria to do the same thing for Elyria High students.

District spokeswoman Amy Higgins said the efforts of the group are exciting, but it will not stop the district from maintaining the 86-year-old stadium, which was built in 1927 on land donated by William Ely.

“The district really does continue to maintain that facility, but that being said, we always appreciate great partners,” she said. “This is not an Elyria Schools project, but the booster groups are great partners to the district, and we welcome all of their fundraising efforts.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.