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The Suburbanite
  • Lake stadium project paid off and primed for season opener

  • Lake head football coach Jeff Durbin always uses an adage when his team is given little or no chance to win.


    “Never bet against the Blue Streaks.”

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  • Lake head football coach Jeff Durbin always uses an adage when his team is given little or no chance to win.
    “Never bet against the Blue Streaks.”
    The same can be said about the Lake Local School district residents and community as a whole.
    Four years ago, Lake Blue Streak Stadium underwent a massive renovation in which a new pressbox and a new field was installed inside the 5,500-seat stadium.
    Four years later, the project has been paid off thanks in part to numerous community members and sponsors.
    It was after the 2007 season when the renovations began to tidy up the field and Tobin Enz oversaw the facelift that has led to Lake's stadium being one of the best venues in the Federal League, if not the state of Ohio.
    “After the end of the 2007 football season, the field was in bad shape. We needed to have something in place to put in a turf field and we needed everyone's support. In January of 2008 we got the approval to start this project and we started it in May of 2008,” Enz said. “We had our ups and downs at times during the project, but we were finally able to have it finished and paid off the loan.”
    Even the economic challenges residents were facing did not stop them from chipping in to make sure their appreciation was shown throughout the 48-month period. Whether it was a large or a small amount of money, residents made a collective effort to make the overhauled stadium a reality.
    “There were no tax dollars involved in this, this was from the community,” Enz said.
    The Lake students were truly grateful for the stadium upgrades. Not only is the field used for high school football games, it’s also used by the softball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and wrestling teams. It has also filtered down to the middle school. The proximity of the middle school to the high school has played an integral role in the betterment of Lake students from grades sixth grade up through high school.
    The facility has achieved a high amount of praise from visitors that have assisted this venue. They have departed awed by what they have seen.
    Outside of Blue Streak Stadium, there is a wall in the form of a football field that showed just how much money was raised in order to pay off the project. The completion of the project was expected to take 60 months, but the additional 12 months are no longer needed.
    “We got this project finished because great people stepped up and made it happen. People have come to the stadium and have been won over by the 'wow' factor,” Enz said. “Everyone had a part in this and we had events to raise money too such as our band show. Everyone made this happen.”
    Page 2 of 3 - “We are greatly a year ahead of schedule. Overall we are very happy for a job well done by the community,” added Ron Pulliam, a Lake supporter. “The community is solely responsible for this happening. Again, no tax money was used on the project. We also had major contributions from followers along the way and everyone stepped up and did an unbelievable job.”
    When Lake fans arrive for the home opener Aug. 31 against Hudson, they will see the entire wall on the football field shaded in red. In addition, there will also be a wall commemorating the individuals and sponsors that made the Alumni Field project a success from the christening of the project to its finality.
    Don't get the perception that the Lake community expects to take all the credit for this. They expect nothing in return, just the knowledge that they are a community that prides itself on uniting together and doing everything possible to better the facilities for children is enough.
    “We are united as a community, no personal recognition is needed. We will have a wall for families and every individual that contributed to this project on the wall. We are happy to have this accomplished and we are looking forward to having a good football team take the field this August,” Pulliam said.
    The excitement from the project may be a momentum builder for the Lake football team as it opens the season on the road for the second year in a row at Green.
    In 2011, the Blue Streaks concluded the season with an uncharacteristic 2-8 record. They saw their season get away from them quickly with an 0-4 start and ended with a saddening 48-14 loss to eventual Div. III state champion Youngstown Cardinal Mooney that led to a melancholy and subdued walk off the field.
    This completion of Alumni Field just may be the kick start needed to resuscitate a team that fell on tough times. The same way the red bar on the money-raised wall was filled, the new stadium may just be what the doctor ordered.
    Pulliam attests this is a important time for this community and that they deserve every reward for their unceasing effort.
    “This means a lot. We had to evaluate many turf companies and oversee the excavation during the removal of the dirt. There were many people who gave up their time to preside over this. We also renovated the press box before that. Every player and coach who have stepped on this field have enjoyed it very much. We made it clear that we were going to set out to do this and we did it,” he said.
    For a true story of success and perseverance, look no further than the people who put these last four years in perspective and let the memories reverberate for a long and positive time.
    Page 3 of 3 - “This happened during a time when the economy was bad but everyone stepped up when it counted and we got it done,” Enz said.
    “With no regrets, I would do this again,” Pulliam said.
    Durbin's adage of never betting against the Blue Streaks has always applied to his football team. It can now apply to the entire Lake community.