Oct. 2014 Jefferson Award: Richard & Marianne Deede - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Oct. 2014 Jefferson Award: Richard & Marianne Deede

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LANGLADE COUNTY (WAOW) -- In Langlade County, you'll find a "Field of Dreams." The Polar Recreation Ballpark sits on land donated by the Deede family back in 2000. They not only gave the land but raised money to build ball diamonds and much more. For stepping up to the plate, the Deede's are being honored with a Jefferson Award.

The Polar Recreation Ballpark sits on Highway S. It sports two baseball diamonds, a covered pavilion, playground and a rock and plant garden – far different from the farm field it once was.

"Proud of the way it turned out and there's a long list of people behind it and people who were involved in getting it done," said Richard Deede.

Richard and Marianne Deede say it was a team effort with community volunteers helping them along the way. Fifteen years ago, they threw the opening pitch by donating the land at a time when community leaders were looking for space to replace an existing ball diamond which sat on one side of a busy road with parking and restrooms on the other side.

"We stepped up to the plate and gave them the property. Me and my wife and family gave property for a new ballpark," said Richard Deede.

They not only donated the 13 acres for the park, they also continue to raise money for ongoing improvements and do much of the daily maintenance work.

Richard focused on the ball diamonds and Mariann added her own personal touch to the grounds.

"I am known as the plant lady. I like to grow plants," said Marianne Deede.

She grows a lot of them on the hillside flower and rock garden overlooking a field where alfalfa once grew.

"This is the alfalfa field, as you can see all the trees and we planted that. I love growing things," said Marianne Deede.

As the garden grew, so did the park.

A second ball diamond went up, along with press box, restrooms and concession stand. Then there is the pavilion with kitchen area, which is a popular spot for weddings and parties.

The Deede's say one thing lead to another, thanks to community support.

Next on the lineup? Upgrades to the playground, knowing full well if you build it the people will come.

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