Just a few days after an overnight storm caused damage at Kasting Park this past spring, members of the Seymour Noon Lions Club helped city workers with cleanup.
The club then applied for a grant through the Indiana Lions Foundation to help defray costs associated with storm damage to the city sports facilities at the park, and in July, a $1,000 check was presented to Seymour Parks and Recreation Department Director Stacy Findley and Program Director Chad Keithley.
Later, club Secretary Christy Nolan was talking to Past International Director Linda Tincher about the damage at the park, and Tincher informed her of the Community Recovery Grant available through the Lions Clubs International Foundation.
According to lionsclubs.org, that grant is intended to aid districts interested in supporting short-term cleanup and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. The objective is for Lions to focus on select groups with specific unmet needs where gaps in relief services have been identified in the community. Grants awarded provide up to $20,000.
Tincher was pleasantly surprised to recently learn the Seymour Noon Lions Club received the maximum amount to again help the city.
“I was aware of it, Christy wasn’t aware of it, so we just made a few phone calls, and they said, ‘Everything you’re telling us fits the bill,’ so I said, ‘Good. We’ll file the paperwork,’” Tincher said. “I’ve got to tell you we were all shocked when we got the maximum amount. We’ll take what they give us.”
Findley said the money will be earmarked for new siding and gutters for the building used for concessions and another building that houses a press box and restrooms and also for new bleachers.
Overall, she estimated the total damage caused by the May storm to be upwards of $100,000. The concrete block walls of two dugouts collapsed, fencing was damaged, roofs, siding and gutters on the two buildings were damaged and trees were damaged.
The park was closed for 10 days due to insurance purposes, and no baseball or softball tournaments, games or practices were conducted there until everything was cleaned up and repaired.
“We had it assessed by our insurance agent, and the park was built in the ’90s, so we were reimbursed for the roof by our insurance and then also some loss of revenue,” Findley said. “But insurance didn’t cover gutter damage or any of the siding damage. It was all 30 years old, and so it needed to be replaced, especially if we’re having the roof replaced.”
The department had to figure out how to make the uncovered repairs because it wasn’t in the budget due to it being an unexpected expense.
“This wasn’t something that we had planned for, but then also, this is one of our most high-traffic sports complexes,” Findley said. “During the week, it accommodates our rec league baseball as well as adult kickball and youth kickball and tons of practices. Then on the weekends, it’s home to our travel baseball and softball. For this park to have had this much damage, so many people were relying on this park to open back up.”
Fortunately, the Lions Club was able to provide more financial assistance.
“Whenever Christy reached out, that gave us an opportunity to say, ‘OK, we can turn something that was unexpected, something bad into a revitalization.’ It’s like, ‘Something good is going to come out of this storm,’” Findley said. “With the grant money, we were able to turn something bad into something great. The park will actually be better now after the storm than what it was prior.”
Other volunteers in the community stepped up, too. That included a group from Emmanuel Church in Seymour painting the two dugouts after they were rebuilt.
Royalty Companies of Indiana Inc. of Seymour recently put the new roofs on the buildings and then started on the new siding and also secured fencing. Beavers Masonry of Medora rebuilt the dugouts.
Remaining work includes new backstops and bleachers.