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Goodbye Haberkorn Field

Members of Waupaca’s Public Works Department toss a shovel of dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility at Haberkorn Field. Director Justin Berrens stands at the end of the line. James Card Photo

Waupaca breaks ground on Public Works facility

By James Card

The ground was already broken and the grass was gone but some ceremonial gold-painted shovels broke it up some more.

The ground-breaking ceremony on May 19 brought a small crowd to what once was Haberkorn Field. It is now freshly leveled dirt but one artifact will remain.

According to Director of Public Works Justin Berren, the press box is still in good shape. He should know as he helped build it with his father when he was younger.

Jobsite fencing encircles the area and construction is underway.

The new public works facility is planned to be finished by the spring of 2024.

Mayor Brian Smith addressed the gathering: “We were just reminiscing about this. I’ve been in city government since 1996 and we started talking about this shortly thereafter about consolidating the public works facility and making it more efficient. Who would have thought that we would be doing this on an old school property?

“It used to be a football field and you can still see the goalpost down there. I always kid people that’s the one place where I scored one touchdown. It has some feelings for me quite honestly. It’s sad to see the field go but what a great project to have for the community.”

Smith introduced the city council members standing in the crowd and gave them credit for making this happen.

Berrens took the microphone and also pointed out the city council’s many decisions to keep the project moving forward.

“It took a lot of discussions and multiple actions over the course of many, many years. Considering the size, scope and dollar value associated with it, the risk of all those actions were than much greater. I would like to thank the council members for every single time they casted a vote to support the public works department. Every time they cast a vote it was a vote of trust that we would be good stewards of the public tax dollars,” he said.

Berrens gave a brief history of the athletic field.

In the 1930s it was an informal athletic field for all sports. A decade later, the city and school collaborated to use it for official sporting events.

In 1988, it was named the Leroy Haberkorn Field after one of Waupaca’s coaches.

The city purchased the property from the school district. He said that it was disheartening to see the sod removed from the field but added, “We will honor this long-standing tradition of service and sacrifice for the community.”

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