SAUK PRAIRIE - It's been a perfect marriage between the village of Sauk City and Sauk Prairie baseball when it comes to Jaycee Park.
Sauk City hosted their first NBC championship in 1979.
Since then the ballpark has received a boat load of improvements. The ballpark received the Field Turf award in 2002.
Steve Schmitt, NBC Wisconsin State Commissioner and owner of the Madison Mallards, remains impressed with the continual improvements to the Sauk City Athletic Field.
"It's a gem," Schmitt said. "Second to none. It's an unbelievable job they have done."
The village of Sauk City budgeted $29,188 for the ballpark in 2007 for utilities, gas/ heat, maintenance and wages. Sauk Prairie baseball volunteers prep and maintain the field.
The village generates $3,000 in ballpark rent every year.
Dean Salveson, a maintenance worker, said that Sauk Prairie baseball has spent an estimated $250,000 on ballpark improvements and spends two to three times the allocated funding through fund-raising and additional revenue.
"There are people who live here who have never stepped in the ballpark," Salveson said. "Their reaction the first time they step in is, 'Wow.' "
Salveson said the village was happy they didn't have to hire someone to maintain the field.
"Basically, all they have to do is walk away from it," Salveson said.
The previous ballpark located in Sauk City near the cannery, which is now Consumer's Cooperative, was relocated to its current location in 1924.
Chuck Hall's family donated the land Jaycee Park now sits on with the stipulation that it remain a park.
Sauk City became one of the first communities across the state to have a lighted ballpark in 1936.
It wasn't until the Jaycee's completed extensive work on the ballpark in 1975 that the ballpark became known as Jaycee Park.
The Jaycees created the sunken dugouts that allow teams to sit lower than the field.
The Jaycees built a concession stand, bathrooms and one of Jaycee Park's most recognizable features — its grandstand. The Jaycees built the backstop, which allowed fans to sit behind the plate under a tin roof awning.
The Jaycees signed a $60,000 note with the village of Sauk City to renovate the park in three to four years. The group did fund-raisers to pay the money back, but the labor and most of the supplies were donated.
In 2001, Sauk Prairie baseball decided to update the field some more. They replaced the full dirt infield with sod, they replaced infield and outfield sprinklers, the outfield fence was re-done and a new scoreboard was added.
Businesses were given two options in purchasing outfield signs including purchasing a sign for $1,500. The second option included paying $300 to design the sign and $300 every year for the lifetime of the sign.
"In this area there is no park that can match the facility for the seats, fans and shade," Sauk City NBC tournament director Gary Ballweg said. "Teams come into this park a little more fired up because of the atmosphere the park provides.
"There is no doubt the chance to play in a facility like this enhances a player's desire."
Hosting the NBC tournament remains an economic boon for Sauk Prairie baseball.
"Sauk Prairie was known as baseball country," Salveson said. "I think it should stay that way."