As the majority of Clawson residents who attended the City Planning meeting concerning our park, I walked away frustrated. There are always opinions on change. Those living close to the park obviously are against any improvements that may require compromise, possibly making alterations to their lifestyles. I respect their opinions but hate the loss to our city’s children, business owners, much-needed revenue, job opportunities and making our city a show place again.
Not once, but twice now, over two million dollars has been offered to make our sports facility as top notch as all of our neighboring cities. Guaranteed, insured money costing Clawson nothing.
First it was rejected to turf the football field, install a new track, bleachers, lighting and press box. No school track meets are allowed due to the inferior condition of our city track. The teams must even be bussed to other schools for their practices.
During a rainy week, where school soccer and football and city football are played, our field is destroyed for the seasons.
Our competitors have voted our baseball and softball facilities the worst in our leagues. Middle school baseball has no practice or game area that even resembles a baseball diamond.
Years ago our park fields were nice. Not so anymore. There is not a positive thing that can be shared because there is no money and no maintenance other than dugout repair and grass cutting. There can not be a combined effort from the city and schools for repairs because both claim lack of funds.
There are fifty boys and fifty girls in our schools who play ball, and another couple hundred who play in city leagues. Our children deserve quality sporting conditions. All Clawson residents deserve better facilities.
Now, as the city planner stated, “this is a golden opportunity but it is gone.” You didn’t want someone else to finance the two million in upgrades so are you willing to support the changes needed with your own tax dollars? As a city, we need to work on a millage to upgrade our main city park area just as we did for the library.
You can not have a family friendly town if you don’t have family friendly reasons to bring, and keep, people in Clawson. My family and I will support anything in Clawson that helps show a positive change for our schools, our children and adults, and our sports facilities.
-Ralph Haney, Clawson baseball coach and resident