Another part of the TIF project involved the development of a new park. The Village bought 20.7 acres of land between Grange Avenue and Woodside Drive, between 116th and 121st Streets, and north of the WEMP studios. Because a large part of the acreage was wetlands, it would never be buildable according to the Department of Natural Resources. Instead, two ponds, a wetland, six ball diamonds, and a park building added recreational space to the Village. By action of the Board, the area was named Schoetz Park after David Schoetz, Village Attorney since 1952.
In 1986, an area consisting mainly of wetlands was converted into Schoetz Park. Featuring two ponds, a park building, and six baseball diamonds, it was transformed into a perfect recreational space.
The ball diamonds are heavily used, and with players and spectators, the parking lot and neighboring streets can be jammed. With other activities available, the park is a busy place. A special feature of Schoetz Park is a County- stocked fishing pond that gives youngsters, perhaps, their first fishing experience. In addition to receiving TIF funding, tax money and support from local businesses and residents helped in the develop- ment of this new park.
WHITNALL AREA LITTLE LEAGUE
The effort to organize Little League baseball in this area was spearheaded by the local Jaycees. Incorporated in 1962 as Whitnall Area Boys Baseball, it grew rapidly and soon affiliated with the National Little League.
The Little League program instills sportsmanship, involves youth in a supervised, competitive activity, and brings together the entire community with adults serving as coaches, contributors, boosters, and fans.
Whitnall Area Little League expanded from four teams in 1962 to 25 teams in 1986, involving 350 boys. In 1974, girls softball was included in the program and, from four teams at the start, it had grown by 1986 to 13 teams with 165 girls.
This progress is directly attributable to the dedicated work of parents who now number well over 130 volunteers.
In 1986, work was started on Schoetz Park, named after the long-time legal adviser to the village, David Schoetz, and designed to include six Little League ball fields, a soccer field, a senior citizen fitness area, a fishing pond, a general-use pavilion with toilet facilities, and a spacious area for family outings on land bor- dering 116th Street south of Edgerton Avenue.
Local residents and business establishments underwrote the cost of the pavilion and the six fields. These in- cluded Holz Motors, Bill Natzke, Lincoln State Bank, State Bank Hales Corners, Wheel and Sprocket, Keith Winters, and St. Francis Hospital. Additional funds came from state and local contributions as well as from individual contributions.
Whitnall Area Little League changed to a youth sports league in the 1990s, and is no longer affiliated with the Little League organization. The league is now referred to as Whitnall Youth Baseball & Fast Pitch and has grown to over 600 kids. Schoetz Park has also grown to eight fields from its original six during that span. As an organization, Whitnall Youth Baseball & Fast Pitch is focused on developing talent, and is the main feeder program to Whitnall High School.
This brief history of our park and league is an excerpt from a book published by the Hales Corners Historical Society. Special thanks to them for use of this content. Please visit their site to learn more about our Village and buy the book!
An Eagle Scout Keeps A Promise to Honor a Fallen Soldier
Originally printed in Hales Corners NOW August 7th, 2011 by Mary Ann Coleman
Ian Coleman from Hales Corners WI officially became an Eagle Scout in a ceremony at City Hall and in so doing he kept his promise to his cousin, SPC Chad Derek Coleman, Cavalry Scout, 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, who was killed in action on August 27, 2010 while serving his country in Afghanistan.
Ian was in the process of deciding what he would do for his Eagle Scout project when he heard the news that his cousin Chad was killed in action. During this very difficult time and on the day of Chad's funeral he made a decision to dedicate the entire Eagle project to Chad's memory.
There were only three years between Ian and Chad and they kept in constant contact while Chad was in Afghanistan. Chad always reminded Ian how important it was to finish school, get his Eagle Scout Badge and on to college.
For his project Ian did his research on the Internet and decided to build four planter benches to be put in Schoetz Park in Hales Corners where Ian, his brother Trent and his sister Ann Marie played ball and still do. Chad came up often to Wisconsin from Fort Campbell and always went to the park to watch them play.
Ian decided there would be a granite plaque to hang on the concession stand with Chad's picture and his famous quote "Only 2% of the People in the United States can do what I do, I am an American Soldier". Another granite plaque would hang below with the names of all of the donors. Each bench would carry a small plaque with all of Chad's information on it. All eight planters would be planted with flowers.
Now it was time to raise the money and get the project started. Ian put together a beautiful letter with a picture of Chad floating behind the text. He explained his project and what the money would be used for and that the entire project would be dedicated to Chad. Between Ian and his grandpa they raised more than enough money to complete the project and donate a large sum of money to the park for a batting cage.
The project is now finished and Ian is officially an "Eagle Scout". His promise has come full circle and the Coleman family is so very proud of their "Eagle Scout" and their "Cavalry Scout".
This fall Ian will leave for college in Oshkosh knowing that he did his best to keep his promise and honor his cousin Chad. Whenever people stop to read the plaque or sit on the benches they will be reminded of an Eagle Scout who chose to honor a Cavalry Scout that became a "True American Hero" and an inspiration to all.
Some of the most beautiful diamonds ever seen...
Originally posted online at 620wtmj.com by Gene Mueller May 4th, 2013
The diamonds lie side by side, as they have for years.
Fields of green, where children would learn a game that they would hopefully take with them the rest of their lives.
A game taught by their parents who would, over the course of time, release their inner Harvey Kuenn or Walter Alston or Leo Durocher. Sometimes, those moms and dads would display their baseball brilliance. Sometimes, they'd behave worse than the kids they were mentoring.
It all came back during a recent bike ride past Schoetz Park in Hales Corners where the relationship between the country's favorite past time is reaffirmed every spring, where moms and dads and sons and daughters get their heads around baseball.
And so much more.
It brought back memories of a kid who seemed smaller than the new glove he carried out on the diamond, a boy who at first had a hard time focusing on his job in the field while others were at bat, a child fascinated more by the outfield dandelions or the dirt around third base than what was happening at home plate.
There are recollections of evenings where his dad wanted nothing more than to perhaps have a quiet night at home and an early bedtime, but who was always invigorated and enthused once the two started walking to the diamond for BP. The teaching, the coaching, the nurturing, would all pay off as the spring became summer as the son and the rest of the team slowly but surely got better at the game.
There were the nights of great accomplishment, when the son looked like a begoggled Brooks Robinson at third, knocking down balls and spearing line drives with aplomb. There was an amazing outfield catch that ended an All-Star game. There were nights on the mound where the son would help hold a lead or keep the other guys in check. There were hot summer nights behind the dish where the kid learned the game from the best spot on the field, involved in every pitch while toiling in sweaty gear, trudging to the backstop over and over again as his pitcher fought through a night of wildness.
It wasn't all glory. There were oh-fer's and evenings where making contact was a challenge, the occasional error or bad throw. There was the night on the mound when a batter took the boy over the wall--a rare happening at these levels, one that could leave a mark. The son would buckle in and stay solid the rest of the night, learning one of life's best lessons: when down, keep chuckin'.
Cold, damp springs. Blistering hot summers. Fighting to see the ball as the day became night. Wondering if it's "just a sprinkle" or the start of a downpour. Scrambling to the car as a gully washer approached from the west. Ending it all, win or lose, at the local ice cream store to hash over each pitch and hit.
What seemed like a never-ending annual appointment would eventually come to a close as the son was no longer little enough for Little League. High school arrived, and then college. In two weeks the son takes a walk across a stage, one that ends with a handshake and a diploma, one that starts a new chapter: adulthood. Pitching form and batting stances give way to job interviews and finding a place to live.
Yet there's plenty that was learned on those sandlot diamonds that the son takes with him. Perseverance. Commitment. Consistency. Effort. There's more to learn on the sandlot than baseball fundamentals, and more achieved than a victory or a good night at the plate or in the field. There's a dad who was able to instill a love of the game in his son, and an indelible bond that can never be broken, not by age or the arrival of grown-up obligations that can strain friendships and family.
The diamonds sit side by side, as they have for years. It's not a time for a dad to feel bad about what passed or the fact it won't ever come back. It's time to celebrate the fact that others will get to experience what he and his son did all those years, to hope they enjoy even a little of the joy he and his kid took away from those fields and still savor now, even after the games ended and responsibility arrived.
Diamonds never looked so beautiful.
with any questions and we'll get back to your shortly.