The Waterloo Softball Association (WSA) has a 40-year history of providing an attractive softball/baseball environment for youth and adult leagues at the Hoing-Rice complex, located at the corner of Burton Avenue and Josephine Street in Waterloo. During the season, WSA plays host to 120 adult and youth recreational and competitive softball teams 5 nights a week from April through September.
THIS IS A TEAM EFFORT
WSA partners with the City of Waterloo Leisure Services Commission by leasing the Hoing-Rice 5-diamond complex. This arrangement fulfills their shared missions of providing an atmosphere where physical health, good sportsmanship and pride intersect. The tournament field often brings in 10 – 30 teams per weekend, boosting hotel occupancy, filling restaurants, and providing a safe and healthy family activity.
The Association is governed by a 12 member volunteer board of directors that oversees operations, including event organizing, marketing, fundraising, grounds keeping and concessions. WSA employs 15-20 part-time and seasonal workers during the season, in addition to a host of member volunteers that assist during special events and tournament play.
Waterloo Police officers Mike Hoing and Wayne Rice are the namesake for the Hoing-Rice facility. In July 1981, Officers Hoing and Rice were shot and killed after responding to a noise complaint for the second time in one night. As Officer Hoing called for backup the suspect struck Officer Rice on the head and gained control of his service weapon. The suspect then shot Officer Rice once. Officer Hoing was able to return fire but was struck four times. Officer Rice succumbed to his injuries at the scene and Officer Hoing succumbed to injuries the following day at a local hospital.
Two days after the murders Deputy William Mullikin, of the Black Hack County Sheriff’s Department, was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a reported sighting of the suspect. The suspect was apprehended and sentenced to two life terms in prison with no chance for parole.
Both were softball advocates – this complex bares their name for a sport that both officers loved.
An aging facility with a historic significance, the 35th anniversary of Hoing & Rice’s deaths and the recent loss of more local peace officers has sparked a renewed interest in facility enhancements. Plans to honor the fallen with an effort to improve the complex were derived from conversations with Black Hawk County Deputy Tim Petersen. Unfortunately Deputy Petersen was recently killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident before he could see his vision of this project become a reality. These improvements will fulfill Tim’s vision and benefit the entire community just like our law enforcement officers due every day. WSA, through its partnership with the City, and these planned facility upgrades will serve the community for the next generation. Specific needs include:
- Construction of a Peace Officer Pavilion
- Additional Public Safety Memorial for active duty fallen officers of the Waterloo Police, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s department & Waterloo Fire Departments
- New surface and laser grading of all 5 infield areas
- New overhead fencing with netting for spectator safety
- Playing field lighting improvements
- Fencing replacement
- Yellow safety cap added on all fences
- New Scoreboard on field 5 (youth practice/game field)
- Reseal and repair parking lot.
Total cost estimate is $400,000 and will be completed in phases as time and dollars allow, with priority for completion of the Peace Officer Pavilion.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Waterloo Softball Association President Jake Schaefer states, “our active volunteer board members, employees and umpires are dedicated to this place and our mission of serving our softball community. We believe that our community deserves nothing less than a first rate facility that also keeps the memory of our past heroes, present in our lives. By working together, we believe that this project can become reality.”
To make a tax deductible contribution, make checks payable to (with Waterloo Softball Association in the memo line of the check):
Waterloo Community Foundation
425 Cedar Street, Suite 320
P.O. Box 1253
Waterloo, IA 50704
Or donate online now.
To learn more, contact the Foundation at 319.883.6022.