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Marshalltown Little League board president to retire at end of season

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ — Since 1965, Marshalltown has had a Little League. Its mission is to make sure every kid in Marshalltown who wants to play baseball can do so, regardless of socio-economic status or abilities. But with the impending retirement of volunteer board president Tim Kuehner, the future of the league is uncertain.

Since 1965, Marshalltown has had a Little League. Its mission is to make sure every kid in Marshalltown who wants to play baseball can do so, regardless of socio-economic status or abilities. But with the impending retirement of volunteer board president Tim Kuehner, the future of the league is uncertain.

“I’m at the end here, and we don’t have a succession plan. It’s a lot to ask for a parent to coach, much less put in that additional time to be a part of the board,” Kuehner said. “I’m putting in 53 hours a week here plus work a full-time job (at Marshalltown Company).”

As a non-profit, revenue is generated through fundraisers, local donors and the hosting of an annual spring tournament at the South 12th Street Little League Complex.

The Little League Complex is owned by the City of Marshalltown, and leased to the Little League.

“I maintain the park, but the city and community use it year-round,” he said. “We don’t lock the gates when the season is over. It’s just always been that way.”

Currently around 400 boys and girls on 30 teams participate in Little League in Marshalltown.

“It’s for ages 4-12, then we support baseball for those in seventh and eighth grades, which is put on by the high school,” Kuehner said. “Also, the high school uses our fields.”

Kuehner has been involved in Little League for many years, assuming the duties of board president in 2011. His son Tate played Little League all throughout his childhood until graduating this year from MHS. Kuehner said managing Little League is not just a seasonal job, as maintaining the complex, fundraising and planning out the next season is a year-round endeavor.

“There really isn’t a support base anymore of a board. It’s really myself and Steve Hanson, who’s the high school baseball coach,” he said.

Hanson said Kuehner and the volunteer coaches are what keep Little League alive.

“He took a fading activity and pumped life into it,” Hanson said.

Marshalltown Little League works with an approximately $40,000 a year budget — which is stretched thinly — due to Little League fees, equipment and supplies, insurance, general upkeep and maintenance and scholarships for kids who can’t afford to participate otherwise.

Little League has a strong ally in the Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau. The economic impact Little League has on Marshalltown has been measured by the CVB.

“Tim Kuehner is one of our shining lights in the numerous hours he provides to support the Marshalltown Little League and the game of baseball in our community,” CVB Executive Director Val Ruff said. “His dedication to the sport of baseball and the boys goes above and beyond. Tim works year-round to host around 10 tournaments from mid-March to June which results in an economic impact of $250,000 per weekend, which will amount to $2,500,000 this season alone.”

Ruff noted that players and their families who come from out of town to play at the baseball complex, stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and patron our other businesses.

“The added bonus is that Tim works closely with the MHS baseball players and Coach Steve Hanson to instill good values and the spirit of teamwork, building future MHS players,” Ruff said.

Little League games are held every Monday through Thursday evening during the season, with tournaments every weekend.

“We need the tournaments to raise money for our league, so not only do we have a program, but we have to somehow support those who don’t have the money to pay for it. No matter the kid, they will be on the team,” Kuehner said. “Coaches run the league. I’m here to keep the doors open.”

Kuehner mows the grass, orders supplies and equipment, fundraises and does whatever else is needed to have a successful season.

“There have been some great Little League boards and presidents through the years and I hope it doesn’t end with me,” he said. “If a group of people took over, then those 53 hours could be divided, but I’m just not sure that person or group of people is out there to take it over. But it’s time for me to enjoy my family.”

For more information about how to help, contact Kuehner at 815-342-1282 or tkuehner@marshalltown.com.