Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Pepsi effort fizzles, Treyton field supporters soldier on
Ball field would be memorial for 6-year-old

by Chris Schultz

February 10, 2011

Whitewater — The dream of getting a $250,000 grant for the Treyton Kilar memorial ballpark through the Pepsi Cola Co.’s “Pepsirefreshproject” is over, but efforts to build Treyton’s field of dreams continue, said Rob Gosh, a friend of the Kilar family and spokesman for the fundraising effort.

For the month of January, the project was in the running for one of two projects that qualify for $250,000 grants.

Pepsi Cola Co. has set up a website where nonprofit organizations can appeal for votes to win grants of $250,000, $50,000, $25,000 and $5,000.

Individuals could vote once a day every day of January until voting closed Feb. 1.

Treyton’s field of dreams remained in second place right up until almost the last hour, when a group called GLSEN, which was supported by another group called Progressive Slate, suddenly surged into second place at the close of voting on Feb. 1.

Gosh said he’s not sure that the voting was on the up-and-up.

He said Treyton’s parents, Mike and Mary Kilar, were approached by Progressive Slate. The group pretty much guaranteed that by joining Progressive Slate, the field of dreams project would win, Gosh said. In return the project would pledge a percentage of the grant to Progressive Slate, also a nonprofit organization.

The Kilars decided not to join and to let the Pepsi voting process work out the way it was supposed to, Gosh said. “They wanted to keep it fair,” he said.

The fact that the Kilars’ project was defeated at the last minute by an organization supported by Progressive Slate calls Pepsi’s voting process into question, Gosh said.

“I don’t think we were beaten fair and square,” he said. He said the Kilars have already filed a protest with Pepsi.

Feb. 23 is deadline for Pepsi to announce the winners. The soft drink maker is recounting the votes to make sure they meet the website’s voting requirements.

Gosh said he’s been a family friend of the Kilars for years. He said his son, Nick, 13, was like an older brother to Treyton.

The ball field is to be built at Starin Park, which is just north of Starin Road between North Prairie and North Fremont streets.

Plans for the completely fenced 225-to-250-foot youth field include concrete block dugouts, bleachers, and a scoreboard. Whether to add lighting, restrooms and a concession stand will be determined by available funds.

Gosh said supporters hope to raise $125,000 toward the project by spring.

It appears that most of that money must now be raised locally.

Treyton Kilar, 6, died Sept. 2, 2010 when the car his father, Michael, was driving was struck by a car driven by Scott Dragotta, 44, of East Troy.

Immediately after the accident, Dragotta failed field sobriety tests with a 0.19 blood alcohol level, according to a portable breathalyzer test.

This week in Walworth County Circuit Court, Dragotta was found guilty of 14 criminal charges connected with the drunken-driving accident that killed Treyton.

Treyton was a true blue Brewers fan and his dream was to play for the Brewers one day. He spent countless hours practicing at home and played on teams sponsored by the Whitewater Parks and Recreation Department.

Fundraising for Treyton’s field continues, Gosh said. He said the ballpark’s supporters are planning a raffle. The grand prize will be a 1942 Harley-Davidson that was donated for the raffle. He said supporters are also trying to get word to Jay Leno, a Harley-Davidson lover, to see if he’ll appear at the raffle or at least mention it on his show.

The Brewers organization has also agreed to donate some memorabilia for the raffle, Gosh said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Navy construction battalion is offering to donate manpower and equipment for construction of the ball field, and Walton Construction of Whitewater is volunteering to do grading work on the site.

Total cost of the project will run about $440,000. The major project cost will be $250,000 for the concession stand, Gosh said.

The city won’t let the group break ground until it has $125,000 to $150,000 in its account, he said.

“We’re not giving up on it yet,” Gosh said. “This project needs to get done.

“We need that one person, that one company to step up and get us past the $100,000 mark,” Gosh said.

He said the fund now has about $60,000.

Gosh said while the Kilars might resubmit the project to the Pepsi project at some point, sadly, Pepsi announced that it will no longer offer $250,000 grants.

Meanwhile, local groups and businesses have been generous in their contributions toward Treyton’s ballfield.

Among the donors have been students at Whitewater and Edgerton high schools. Other donors have included Culver’s restaurants, Delta Zeta Sorority Community Service and the UW-Whitewater Warhawk Basketball Kid’s Day & Benefit .

Gosh said the goal of the memorial ball field is to provide a baseball venue for tournaments and teams from throughout the county.

Anyone wishing to contribute raffle items can contact Rob Gosh at (262)527-6382.

Any individual or business interested in donating to the Treyton Kilar ballfield can do so through the Whitewater Community Foundation:

Treyton Kilar Field, First Citizens State Bank, 207 W. Main St., Whitewater, 53190.