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Field of Light Beams

May 22, 2024
Ameren donates eight steel poles to help luminate a ball field in Valmeyer, Illinois.

It's been referred to as one of the hidden gems in all of Monroe County, Illinois. And just when you thought Borsch Memorial Park in Valmeyer couldn't get any better … it has. 

Lights will be added to the ball field in the park thanks to the efforts of Ameren, L.E. Myers, the local co-op, and many former Valmeyer high school baseball players and graduates.

The long-awaited arrival is in the home stretch. The rally started when former Valmeyer resident and Ameren Services Senior Vice President Eric Seidler learned that Ameren was making major electric system upgrades in town and was planning to turn its existing steel power poles into scrap metal. He reached out to colleagues in the company to inquire if the poles could be repurposed for ball field lights.

“We’ve been trying to get lights at Borsch Park for 20, 30 years,” said Mike McCarthy, coach of the Valmeyer Lakers baseball team. “My predecessor, Denny Pieper, tried for years. Then the Ameren opportunity surfaced, and suddenly there was a lot of momentum to finally get it done.”

In early May, eight Ameren poles were removed near the Victor substation in town and moved to the park where volunteers cut the poles to size and added hardware to accommodate the lights. L.E. Myers, a Decatur-based Ameren Illinois electric contractor, set the poles in place along the perimeter of the field. The steel poles are about 20 years old.

"I played baseball on this field as well as coached high school and legion baseball at this ball field as recently as six years ago," Seidler said. "I have memories as a 10-year-old riding my bike to the ball field and watching the Valmeyer Lakers play baseball over the 4th of July. The team and town has talked about getting lights on this field as long as I can remember. This is a dream come true for the community."

"It makes me proud that our transmission team does such great work not only to improve the reliability and resiliency of our system, but also helps in situations like this to make a meaningful difference in the communities in which we serve."

"Donations come in all shapes and sizes," said Shawn Schukar, president of Ameren Transmission. "In this case, our donation of steel poles is literally measured in feet, illumination and the joy of all who will be able to play baseball and softball under the lights at Borsch Memorial Park. We are thrilled to partner with the Village of Valmeyer to make this happen."


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