Hatchet Pride Project complete
New athletic field, track, bleachers, facilities improve safety, handicap accessibility
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – After over three years of fundraising, design, and construction, the Hatchet Pride Project was completed earlier this month. The project, largely funded by private donors and sponsors, saw myriad upgrades and improvements made to Hatchet Field, located at the Tomahawk school complex.
The new athletic facility includes a track, synthetic field, bleacher system, lighting, concession stand, ticket booth and entrance, and the new athletic field has an improved surface and infrastructure.
Andy Peissig of the Hatchet Pride Project Committee said these improvements make the facility safer for athletes and improve handicap accessibility.
“The mission of the Hatchet Pride Project was to increase safety among users and spectators, increase community options and use of the facilities, increase student participation in physical activity, and to utilize the existing area more efficiently,” Peissig stated. “We strongly value the impact physical activity and athletic participation has on complementing academic achievement and healthy lifestyles.”
Peissig said the Hatchet Pride Project was founded in March 2017 by a group of community members and parents “that strongly believe that athletic programs promote self-confidence, self-respect and leadership skills that help students in the classroom and beyond.”
“Academics here in Tomahawk have been exceeding expectations for the last several years, according to the state school report card,” he stated. “The Hatchet Pride Project wanted to bring our athletic facilities up to the level of our academic success.”
The previous athletic field was improperly crowned and leveled with no irrigation system, leading to a lack of grass cover, regularly dry ground, and ultimately a denser playing field. The track’s surface had been patched many times due to cracking and surface bubbling, and the bleachers were neither handicap accessible nor up to current codes.
All of those issues were remedied with the Hatchet Pride Project.
“Since Tomahawk is a K-12 school building, our physical education classes will also benefit from the increased safety of this new playing field,” Peissig noted. “The new track will increase safety of our track and cross country programs as well as the many community members that come and walk the track for recreational use. The new bleacher system is now handicap accessible and meets Wisconsin bleacher codes, which results in safer seating for spectators.”
The new concession stand, ticket booth, and entrance paved from the parking lot are now more handicap accessible.
Peissig noted that the new LED lighting is more energy efficient and allows for better vision by both athletes using the track or field, as well as increased vision for spectators using the facility.
The Hatchet Pride Project privately raised over $2.3 million for the facility improvements.
“All of the research surrounding fundraising for major projects recommends not going public until you have secured initial major donations from corporations,” Terry Timm of the Hatchet Pride Project Committee explained. “That way the public knows there’s a great chance of success in your efforts. Once we had met this initial goal, we went to our local financial institutions and small business owners. The final step was to secure donations from individuals throughout the community.”
Timm said the committee secured the needed funds by utilizing social media, individual contact, and help from alumni by past class presidents sending out mass mailings.
“It’s been like a four-year-long relay race with the baton passed from corporations to financial institutions to local businesses and the final lap being the benevolence of individuals,” Timm stated. “The support we received was nothing short of outstanding, a true representation of the strength of our small community and alumni base. I, for one, am very proud of the commitment that was made by each and every donor to the youth of our proud city of Tomahawk. This project is truly aptly named ‘Hatchet Pride.’”
Peissig noted over 130 businesses, foundations, and/or individuals contributed to the Hatchet Pride Project.
“The Tomahawk community has once again shown its generosity by supporting this new venue, and it is a project that the community can be proud of,” Peissig said.