Freeman Field complex undergoing renovations


The Seymour Parks and Recreation Department is putting a lot of time and money into upgrading the Freeman Field Recreational Complex this summer.

A new welcome sign at the park’s entrance, four shelter houses, fencing/gates for admission and the addition of an automated external defibrillator are all part of the plan.

The first project to reach completion was the sign, constructed by maintenance supervisor Chad Keithley.

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“It’s a repurposed cedar tree that’s actually from out at Freeman Field,” said Bob Tabeling, director of the parks and recreation department.

The sign is similar to the one at Gaiser Park, which advertises upcoming events at the park and for the city.

Tabeling said the sign cost just $300 thanks to Keithley’s efforts to make use of the department’s resources.

The sign that previously greeted visitors to the park was hit by a vehicle and knocked down, Tabeling said.

Within the next 30 days, the construction of the shelter houses will come to a close.

“We are putting in four new family 20-by-20 (foot) shelters,” Tabeling said. “With as much activity as we have at Freeman Field with cross country, soccer, baseball and softball tournaments and rec leagues in the city, we only had one small shelter.”

One of the new shelter houses serves those attending cross country meets at the park, and the other two are along the tree line on the east side of the parking lot. The fourth one is located between the soccer fields.

The shelters are costing $52,000, Tabeling said. The city received a $20,000 grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center for the project. The remainder of the funds came from the department’s buildings and structures fund and tournaments fund, he said.

An issue the department has dealt with over the years is traffic congestion while trying to take admission for tournaments at the park.

Tabeling said the department has a plan that will cost around $9,000 to help alleviate that headache.

“We’re using some of our tournament money to put up some fencing so that for tournaments we can actually take admission at the gate and not in a car,” he said. “If someone is coming for soccer, in the past, they are in line with softball players and other people just wanting to come to the park. They had to wait through that process. It’s going to help streamline that process.”

Tabeling said a combination of resources is being used to fund the projects, including grant and tournament money.

By the end of the year, an automated external defibrillator will be installed near the concession stand at the park. AEDs are used to give an electric shock to someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Tabeling said the unit, sold by LifeLink, will include a weather-proof box and cost $2,000. Gaiser Park currently has an AED, and one is being installed at Kasting Park, too.

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