By Jason Schock
The Fiedler Family Ball Complex is just a couple years old, but it’s already undergone some nice upgrades, thanks in large part to a $10,000 Union Pacific grant, additional funding from Falls City Recreation and manual labor provided by City workers.
Sturdy new iron benches, trash cans and picnic tables are new additions to both concession areas and a concrete walkway connects the two parking lots adjacent to Hartman, Southeast Nebraska Communications, Vandeberg and F&M Bank Fields. Brian Poppe (photographed, center), chairman of the Ballpark Improvement Committee that first envisioned the $2 million “Field of Dreams,” applied for the UP grant on behalf of FC Rec; Kevin Malone (left) has long served as Rec Secretary and Mayor Jerry Oliver (right) is shown here representing the City of Falls City, which provided the man hours needed to install the materials.
Fiedler Field has been a busy place since it’s grand opening in April of 2013. It spawned FC High School Tiger Baseball in the spring, and hosted ASA State Softball Tournaments in 2014 and ‘15 (hosting 17 teams for 37 games over a single weekend in July) to go along with the annual Rec League action throughout the Fourth of July. As the calendar turns to August, the bustling Fiedler Complex quiets down, for a moment. But don’t blink: FC High School Tiger Softball hosts its ‘15 home opener Aug. 28.
It’s the crown jewel Poppe and the Ballpark Improvement Committee envisioned — and the one Rodney Vandeberg bought, sold and celebrated.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the ceremonial ribbon has been cut and I am pleased to announce that this beautifully remodeled complex is now an official part of this community!,” he said that sunny spring afternoon.
Sadly, the first pitch of the 2015 summer season was still in the glove when Rod passed away the morning of Saturday, May 23, at the age of 78. But before he clipped the ribbon two years prior, he specifically thanked both Poppe and Malone for helping make the ballpark dream a reality. He knew the facility was in great hands — and the new upgrades provide further visual affirmation.
“I will think about you guys every time I drive by this great complex,” he said.
Likewise, we should all tip our cap to Rod when we drive by, find a seat in the bleachers or take the field at that great complex. Same goes for the Falls City Library & Arts Center, FC Aquatic Center and Community Medical Center. The man could play ball – hardball, oftentimes.
Luckily, Rod went to bat for Falls City, and had some real good guys on deck.