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Miller Field has been an asset to youth, YMCA

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By Andrew Harner

In the fall, there were more than 170 children registered for YMCA soccer and flag football.

Fortunately, the generosity of the Miller family allowed the Y to accommodate that many kids without any problems.

Miller Field, which opened in 2009, sits in front of the YMCA building on Rock Island Avenue, and has three soccer fields and a flag football field that always see plenty of action during the fall.

The plot of land had been in the Miller family for many years, and around the time that the YMCA was looking for a place to build its athletic fields, the farming tax on that plot quadrupled.

Mark Miller and his family then got together with YMCA Executive Director John Ashdown, and Miller Field was born.

“We’re very pleased,” Miller said. “John worked hard to get that YMCA building for years, and it’s worked out that we both get some enjoyment from it.

“It worked out pretty dog-gone good.”

But turning a piece of farmland into athletic fields took a lot of time, energy and resources.

The individuals, businesses and organizations who helped make the field possible are listed:

•Miller Family – Field
•Scarpaci Foundation – Grant money
•Quinn Bowen – Equipment and labor
•Ted Thompson – Equipment and labor
•Kaskaskia Supply – Use of equipment
•Feller Oil Field Service/Fulk Construction – Bleachers
•Bluff Equipment – Mower
•Boy Scouts – Trees and field layout
•Cox Surveying – Provided surveying
•Marty Davis and Ronald McDonald House – Two sets of soccer goals
•Park District – Set of soccer goals
•FS – Seed and fertilizer

“A lot of people have pitched in to make it nice,” Ashdown said.

The fields aren’t just used for YMCA sports, however, as several other groups and organizations have used the fields in the past.

•YMCA Healthy Kids Day
•MLB Hit, Pitch, Run
•Church events
•Push America bocce ball
•Army
•Special Olympics
•YMCA Adaptive sports

The location of the field has also been beneficial to the YMCA’s membership, Ashdown said, as parents will often use the indoor facility while their child is at a practice.

He added that directors from the YMCAs in Mattoon and Champaign both said that they wished their fields were setup like Vandalia’s.

“All of the support of that field is awesome,” Ashdown said. “The fields have made the Y so much better.”