Work begins on softball field; park board applying for another grant



Grant funding played a big part in a softball field renovation project getting underway at the Brownstown Park.

The fencing and press box were removed, light poles were moved and new brick dust was put down on the field.

Now, new fencing and netting need to be put up and more brick dust needs to be put down, so the Brownstown Park Board is applying for another grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center.

“I would love to have that finished this year,” park board President Brian Wheeler recently told the Brownstown Town Council during a meeting.

In June, Wheeler learned the park board received a Spring Developmental Grant valued at $12,200. He had applied for $20,000, but the money received along with the town’s match and private donations resulted in $24,000 worth of work being done.

Wheeler thanked local surveyor Dan Blann, Jackson County REMC and Brownstown Electric Supply Co. Inc. for donating time and material for the project.

“Stuff like these projects can’t get done without help from our community, so we appreciate their support,” he said.

Work completed on the field also has helped with drainage, he said.

“The last two times it has rained a heavy downpour, it has handled it well,” Wheeler said.

Since the total cost of the project is expected to be between $42,000 and $44,000, Wheeler is applying for a Fall Developmental Grant from the visitor center. Again, he’s going for $20,000 and will need a match from the town.

He said that could come out of the 2021 budget for the town or park, but Councilwoman Sharon Koch, who serves as a liaison to the park board, said this calendar year’s budget would be better.

“Hopefully, next year’s money can go toward the grant for a playground (equipment) and other things that we need,” she said.

Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said transferring money would require a resolution approved by the council.

“You have to show you’re going to do a transfer from one to the other because if not, it looks like you’re taking a loan out somewhere and it’s got to be paid back,” he said.

Another phase of the project will involve replacing the lights and poles around the softball diamond, adding security lights in the parking lot and installing a new playground feature or pool feature at the park.

Earlier this month, the park board met for the final time of 2020, and Wheeler said he looks forward to seeing what can be done in 2021.

“I’m really excited about the group we have,” he said of the board that includes Paula Workman, Rachel Johnson, Brian Isaacs and Justin Stacks. “I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish as a board.”

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