SAUK VILLAGE | Ed Sullivan has been a Sauk Village resident for all of his 72 years, and he plans to remain a resident for the years he has remaining.
But not every long-time resident harbors such loyalty as Sullivan tends to encounter those planning to pull up their stakes and never look back.
"I understand there are a lot of things that happened here over the past few years," Sullivan said of grievances he often hears, "but you can't just run away from problems. That's how problems spread. Sometimes you've got to stay put and do something about them."
Earlier this year, Sullivan decided to do something about the dilapidated baseball and softball fields adjacent and behind Wagoner Elementary School. They were part of the defunct Sauk Village Sports Association and hadn't been in regular use in eight years.
The fences, dugouts, bleachers supply shed, concession stand and restrooms were badly damaged, and the infields were overtaken by weeds as high as a corn stalks in mid-August.
Spurred even further by the election of Sauk Village mayor David Hanks in April, Sullivan — who was the president of the SVSA more than 40 years ago — was determined to resurrect town baseball and softball this summer.
It didn't happen, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. The SV Parks and Recreation Committee gave the complex a much-needed facelift with repairs, fresh coats of paint and infields groomed to a point where they can be played on.
Problem is that you still need players.
"We need to get people to trust us again," Sullivan said. "People around here have seen so many things go bad, they've giving up hope."
Sullivan says they likely got off to a too late of start for this spring and summer, but believes the return of town ball can happen next spring.
To attract numbers and, perhaps, gain trust, the SV Parks and Recreation Committee will be putting together a co-ed basketball league for ages 7-14.
"We've had a co-ed basketball league here before, and it worked pretty well," said Sullivan, who is the committee's program director. "If we can get around 110 kids, that will be a good number to help get us established."