Clawson youth and athletic teams have an additional facility to play on thanks to a $5,000 field project that wrapped up Saturday at Kenwood Elementary School.
The field was the first part of a grassroots effort to revamp the school's entire playground. The Kenwood Parent Teacher Association sponsored the field reconstruction and aims to raise money to replace the playground equipment next year.
Parent Gerald Maliszewski spearheaded the field project with help from 18 volunteers, comprised of parents and community members.
"That kind of shows that there are people interested in the entire community," Maliszewski said. "I thought that was pretty cool."
Before the two-week project, the field was unusable for students and youth baseball leagues because of flooding issues and poor field surfacing. The group removed the sod on the field, laid soil and grass seeds and helped create swales, which are small ditches for water drainage. Madison-Heights based Sunde Brothers Construction installed two catch basins that are connected to a storm sewer.
The Clawson Youth Baseball/Softball League kicked in $1,400 of the total cost and donated a pitcher's mound and field bases. The league will be able to host its T-ball practices and games at Kenwood this year. About 250 kids participate in the league.
"Our baseball program struggles to have enough fields to compete on and practice on," said Mike Sadler, president of the league. "It was close to my heart to try and do something for them and make it better for all the kids in the community."
The community is already taking advantage of its new field.
Maliszewski said he's noticed a lot more kids playing baseball and kickball on the Kenwood field lately. "The school, the community, everyone is utilizing," he said.
The Kenwood PTA hosted various fundraisers throughout the school year for the project to cover costs, parent Caroline Dylewski said.
"I think the baseball field is great," Dylewski said. "We wanted to be able to show that we are committed to putting forth improvements at the playground."
Next school year, parents will continue to hold fundraisers for the playground fund. It will cost about $45,000 to replace equipment and add benches to the baseball field. Dylewski said she hopes to get enough community volunteers to help set the equipment up, to avoid labor costs.