The Christensen Field Improvement Task Force will function as an independent organization after the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce announced last week the group will no longer be Chamber-sponsored.

The Chamber started the task force 19 years ago to provide non-governmental fundraising support for improvements at the Christensen Field complex.

“From the standpoint of the Chamber, the task force has accomplished its mission, what we originally set out to do 19 years ago,” Chamber Executive Director Ron Tillery said.

“If you just take a look around out there, they have done a lot of work,” he said.

“It really is a cause for celebration,” Tillery said. “The task force has been tremendously successful, and all of the volunteers that worked over the years to create the Bull Riding Classic and provide funding to improve the facilities out there, its just been a tremendously successful group, and the results are evident in the Christensen Field complex. It’s a tremendous asset to the community.”

Tim Schulz, chairman of the Chamber board, congratulated the task force and its volunteers “for a job well done.”

“We are so proud of our dedicated volunteers who have devoted so much time and energy to making Christensen Field such an impressive, valuable asset for the community,” Schulz said. “Today, Christensen Field looks great, works great, and is used nearly every day of the year.”

Over the years, the task force has directly donated nearly $150,000 for improvements through its annual Bull Riding Classic, and partnered with other organization to raise another $200,000, the Chamber announcement said.

Improvements funded by task force activities include portable and permanent fencing, Wi-Fi infrastructure through the entire complex, a front-loader tractor, and extensive building improvements.

Most recently, the task force funded a state-of-art sound system in both arenas and the livestock barns, which was installed in conjunction with a major renovation project at the Christensen Field Event Center.

“We’ve done all kinds of stuff out there,” said John Grandstaff, chairman of the task force.

“The task force is going forward,” Grandstaff said. “We have a very good group of volunteers who want to continue the mission of the Christensen Field Improvement Task Force to continue to improve the facilities at Christensen Field.”

The bull riding event will continue to be held in the spring, and the money it generates will go directly back into the Christensen Field complex, he said.

While no longer directly affiliated with the Chamber, Grandstaff said the task force is thankful for the Chamber’s support in the past.

Parks and Recreation Director John Schmitz, a member of the task force, said the decision for the task force to move forward independently was made during a meeting last week.

“The decision was to push forward as a group,” he said.

Schmitz said he and City Administrator Dale Shotkoski assured the group of continued city support in the form of in-kind services provided for the bull riding event and waving fees for use of city property during the event.

Tillery said the Chamber will turn its attention to other priorities.

“This past year the Chamber assumed responsibility for the community branding initiative. That was a new responsibility for us and we’re devoting more time to that,” Tillery said. “We’re also a part of a couple of other community partnerships, and we’re going to be devoting more time to those. Also, we really want to zero in on the Chamber’s mission to serve its members.”