Brownstown Park Board discusses improvements needed at park



Having new fencing installed around the volleyball court and redoing the softball field at the Brownstown Park are projects the town’s park board hopes to see completed in the near future.

The fencing is needed because when a volleyball goes out of play, it winds up in the parking lot, causing someone to possibly be in the path of a vehicle while retrieving it.

The board has been in contact with Tri County Fence LLC of Medora to get fencing put up around the volleyball court and also the playground next to it. A sunscreen also is needed around the court, but the board agreed fencing is the priority.

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With the softball field, local surveyor Dan Blann recently surveyed and made a drawing of the area to adjust the current diamond to full size. That would allow 13-and-under and older baseball levels to use the field for games. Currently, some teams practice there, but it’s not suitable for games.

The other two fields at the park are used and maintained by the Brownstown Baseball Association for younger age groups and have 200-foot fences.

"That’s OK for about 10-and-under, maybe 11-and-under. You start getting to 12, it starts getting a little short," said Brian Wheeler, a member of the parks board and Brownstown Baseball Association board. "We had talked about years ago needing a bigger field to use that’s good dimension-wise."

The proposal would have the softball field, which at one time was used by a men’s slow-pitch league, with 300-foot fencing.

If that’s approved, the older ages could use that field and the nearby high school baseball field for tournament games.

The more the fields are used, the more revenue that’s generated for the town, Brownstown Baseball Association and local businesses. The town would get money from the rental fee, and there would be an opportunity to make money off of concession stand sales.

"Having four full diamonds from 6 all the way through 12, 13, 14, you could fill this every weekend," Wheeler said.

Through impact studies done by the Brownstown Baseball Association, Wheeler said between 4,000 and 5,000 people are brought to the park for games in a season.

"That was just having a few tournaments, but as big as youth sports are, really, if it’s taken care of, it can be used for anything from 11, 12 on up to coed," he said of the four fields.

Changing the field also may open up the possibility of getting men’s and women’s softball leagues going again.

To make the park even more attractive, the park board agreed the parking lot needs to be reconfigured and paved, too. A drainage issue also needs to be fixed so there isn’t standing water in a dipped area in the pavement after it rains.

Mark Reynolds, a member of the Brownstown Town Council, said it would be good to change the parking to angled in the center. Wheeler said that would create a flow of traffic in and out of the park.

"This is a very good idea. Let’s hope we can find some funding somewhere," park board President Richard Burrell said.

"That’s obviously the hurdle," Wheeler said, noting the board needs to review the park budget to see what money is available to make improvements.

The board may have to look into grant opportunities. Reynolds said he knows a couple of local industries give out allotments of money to the community for various projects. The Jackson County Visitor Center also offers a couple of grant options.

"There are some places. We just have to look and reach out," he said.

Reynolds said he also would seek cost estimates for fencing around the softball diamond and fixing drainage on the field.

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