On Monday, the Norfolk City Council gave approval to an agreement with Norfolk Public Schools and Northeast Community College for improvements to Ta-Ha-Zouka Park. As part of the agreement, both schools are investing $400,000 as well as 50% of the operating costs towards their portion of their usage.
“Northeast Community College supports this collaborative engagement as our softball team uses the city field as their home for practices and competitions,” said Dr. Leah Barrett, president of Northeast Community College. “Sharing expenses on the improvements to the field is a prudent use of taxpayers’ dollars versus each entity operating its own competition field.”
“Norfolk Public Schools is excited to partner with the City of Norfolk and Northeast Community College to improve the softball facilities at Ta-Ha -Zouka Park. By pooling our resources, we will be able to provide ADA accessible restrooms and locker rooms for our athletes and spectators, invest in our community parks, and limit the cost for our taxpayers. This is a great example of what can be accomplished when public entities collaborate with the best interest of their constituents in mind,” said Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools.
The City will fund $135,000 to the project. Also, a contribution of $698,000 from the Mahlon “Jack” B. Kohler estate will go towards the project. This is part of a donation made to the City in September of 2022 and at the completion of the project, the newly upgraded facility will be renamed as the Kohler Softball Complex.
“Jack’s donation is his way of giving back to the community he loved. He would be pleased to know many people in the community can benefit and enjoy the complex now and in future generations to come,” said Ron Kotrous, personal representative for Jack. “He would be proud to know the complex will also be named after him. We would like to thank Northeast Community College and Norfolk Public Schools for their collaboration.”
“We’re excited to get to work on this much-needed improvement project. And we are grateful for the partnerships and the collaboration with Norfolk Public Schools and Northeast Community College, as well as the generous gift from the Kohler family, that enabled it to happen,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.
The improvements include team lockers, ADA sidewalk, repurposing the old restrooms, press box improvements, landscaping and irrigation, backstop replacement, and fencing for a dedicated fastpitch field on field #2.
The expected team locker design will include lockers for the home and away teams and one set of restrooms, and retractable walls to allow for a two-lane batting cage for use in the winter along with a second umpire changing room and a second family restroom.