November 24, 2014

Ball field talks open with Lincoln Township

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

LINCOLN TWP. — Spirits were high among the Standish-Sterling Youth Sports Organization (SSYSO) as members met with the Lincoln Township board during the board’s meeting Thursday, Feb. 9.

The SSYSO had come to gauge the board’s interest in having boys’ and girls’ baseball and softball fields at the township’s proposed recreational park, which would be located on 15 acres of land near Deep River Road ¼ mile north of M-61.

Township Supervisor David Hertzberg was very interested in the idea as a way to spur development of the park property, which he envisioned as hosting the township’s new hall, a pavilion, and sports fields.

The current township hall was built in the 1930s, and discussions had been held with the city of Standish to build up the park since 2006, but stalled after a changeover in city managers, Hertzberg said.

The enthusiasm of the board did not go unnoticed among members of the nonprofit sports organization.

“I feel more warmth tonight than in months of negotiations with other places,” group representative Ryan Raymond said. “We just want to build fields.”

SSYSO representative Gary Roper said the group had permission to build on Standish-Sterling Community Schools, but it was not an ideal location due to space constraints. The group has also been in discussions with the city of Standish to locate the fields on Airpark Drive at the old airport, but has faced roadblocks since the idea was brought up last fall.

Hertzberg said the group would have to leave space for the new township hall, but the township could easily give them 12 acres to work with, which was acceptable to the SSYSO members in attendance.

With the township hall’s future location planned nearby, Hertzberg added utilities could be added to a proposed concession stand fairly easily.

“It wouldn’t take us much to get electricity,” Hertzberg said.

Roper said the group has already raised $18,000 for its first field, and anticipates getting additional grant money to start building. He said a field could cost approximately $32-35,000. As a result, the group just wants to get one built in the near term.

The board agreed to go over the proposal and work out the details with SSYSO members before the next board meeting on March 8. A public hearing date was set for the ball field proposal of March 7, during the township’s planning commission meeting.

Read more in the Arenac County Independent, Feb. 15 edition.

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