Clawson residents and officials are still divided about whether Clawson would have been a good home for a minor league baseball team.
Martin said he would no longer be pursuing Clawson after a contentious public hearing on Tuesday showed many residents and Planning Commission members were against the idea. The commission tabled its final decision, citing incomplete details with traffic and parking.
"Honestly, three members of the Planning Commission were pretty vocally against it as were a lot of the residents," Clawson resident Kurt Hack said. "It’s unfortunate."
Hack said he hoped to see the park get a makeover and thought the minor league team would stir more activity in Clawson.
Some residents were unhappy with the overall negative atmosphere at Tuesday night’s meeting.
"I was watching one of the team’s presenters sitting there analyzing the crowd’s reaction at the meeting on Tuesday,” Clawson resident Denise Seipke said. "By his face I knew they were aware they were facing more opposition than expected."
A plan lacking the details, impacting neighboring residents
The details were what many of the community members wanted to see. The lack of a complete parking plan and traffic study left some undecided.
Seipke, who had mixed feelings about the project, said requesting that information is fair and a standard practice for the Planning Commission.
"They asked for a traffic study, which is the normal planning process," Seipke said. "The issue is someone was trying to push this through quickly and short-change the process. I just don’t think there was enough planning involved."
Most residents living near City Park opposed it because of the noise it would create. Martin said there would be 48 home games at the park from May through August. Residents say spring and summer are already busy times at the park.
Planning Commissioner Rocco Romano lives near the park and said he was relieved that Martin withdrew. Romano was against the proposal because of concerns with alcohol, safety and other issues.
“It was going to be an unfortunate burden on everyone who lives around the park,” Romano said. “Some folks wouldn’t be touched by the noise and it wouldn’t impact their lives. But I, for one, don’t wish to be serenaded by loud speakers 48 times a year.”
A need for a renovations
Martin’s project would have revamped the baseball field. Hack said Martin brought attention to the horrible conditions at the park during his presentation Tuesday. Hack said the field is "embarrassing" and needs a safety improvement.
Clawson school board member Mike Bosnic agreed.
“It would have been a great source of pride to be able to upgrade our facilities," Bosnic said. "I only want the best for our kids."
Parks & Recreation Director Mickey Alderman was disappointed to see the project fall through.
“We thought it was a good opportunity to get some very much needed improvements to the park,” Alderman. “But, I understand that there is certain info that they still needed to provide.”
Alderman said since Martin's proposal fell through, the city will assess the improvements needed at City Park.
“More information was needed to base a decision,” Mayor Penny Luebs said. “Now we have a greater understanding of what needs to happen in the park and that is something that we can look forward to repairing or refurbishing.”
Clawson resident Eva Burns said the proposal could have been good for the city. “I think it’s sad that he decided to pull out without giving us all the answers that he could have been giving,” she said. “It may have ended up being a good thing, but we’ll never know.”