Lincoln ball fields should be ready by spring
LINCOLN TWP. — The ball fields under construction by the Standish-Sterling Youth Sports Organization (SSYSO) should be ready to go for a tournament in June, according to SSYSO organizer Gary Roper.
The fields are being constructed in the township park off of Deep River Road north of M-61. Roper said during the regular Lincoln Township meeting Feb. 14 that the SSYSO had raised $38,000 to get the infields set last year. The original plan called for six ball fields to be installed over several years, but Roper said they had an opportunity to get all of the infields done at once for less money.
He said about 12 inches of topsoil was removed from the fields before workers added some sand and crowned them to flatten the land out.
“There’s about a 1-foot difference between the front fields and the back ones, so it’s almost completely flat,” Roper said.
He added the group was able to get other things done for the fields, such as drain tiling, while working on them all at once. Roper said he only found one spot on the entirety of the six fields that still has drainage issues to fix; the rest are in good condition. He said fertilizer and grass seed has been added as well, so they should be ready for games this year.
“It saved us time and money to get all the fields tiled now,” he said. “Every infield has three fields of drain tile.”
The next step is getting backfield fencing, Roper said, and the SSYSO has not only been able to get money from fundraising to put toward it, but also received a $45,000 grant from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe last November for the project. The backfield fencing will be 8 feet high, and run from near first base to around home plate and then on to near third base.
The SSYSO is also seeking a 30-foot swinging gate for their fields, but Roper said a location for it has not been decided pending discussion with the township board.
To have all the fields fenced at once, Roper said it was going to cost about $43,000. He believed it would take a week or two to get them installed once the ground thaws.
From there, Roper said they would install the bases and plates, and should be ready to play in time for a tournament he is organizing for June 5-7.
He anticipated the fields being used for tee ball as well as girls and boys softball and baseball leagues at all levels.
Once the fences are in, Roper said the next project the SSYSO wants to finish is parking. At the moment, he said there is only sand when a car is pulling in, with their main lot far from complete.
“Right now the right side has the most parking, but currently it’s just a 12-inch hole,” he said. “We plan to sand and gravel it, but we don’t know what we’ll do right now. We do have the option to build a driveway closer to where the township hall is being planned.”
The SSYSO is also hoping to finish up the outfields in the spring, and has raised about $8,000 so far for their next phase, Roper said.
Other things Roper said need to be considered are restroom facilities — either through a bathroom and septic field or with portable toilets — and seating. He felt that getting bleachers was not going to be a major priority compared to parking or restrooms, since parents could bring along lawn chairs or something similar to watch the kids play.
Also at the meeting, Lincoln Township Supervisor David Hertzberg said the township has gotten its septic system in for its future hall and pavilion at the same park, and is working on getting the pavilion in place. He said it still needs a well and electricity installed.