A Clawson baseball coach is seeking donations for a special parks improvement fund that will support a three-party plan to refurbish the infield of the baseball diamond at City Park this year.
Ralph Haney, who coaches varsity baseball at , said he is responsible for raising $12,000 for the project which will cost an estimated $32,000 in total. Clawson Schools and the city will kick in $14,000 each.
So far, Haney has raised about $3,000 through proceeds from a car show last year at the Fall Festival and a Clawson baseball camp this summer. Haney said city and school officials allocated extra money for additional costs that may arise.
The city plans to hire the construction company with the best bid to lay out new dirt and sod infield grass at the park, Haney said.
Haney said he is planning to set up a booth at the on Aug. 11 where attendees can donate $10 to the fund and receive a Clawson baseball T-shirt.
"It might take me a year, it might take me two years but I’m pretty committed to getting this done because our field is terrible," Haney said. "Something’s gotta happen there."
Haney said the field project is long overdue. League coaches in the Macomb Area Conference (MAC) voted the baseball field at City Park the worst in the Tri-Counties.
"The field is sand and it's gravel and it's terrible on any kind of windy day," Haney said. "It’s just 15 years beyond its life expectancy."
Last summer, concerns about the outdated baseball field rose when a professional baseball team owner at City Park if the city would allow his minor league team to play home games there.
David Martin of Summit Professional Baseball said he would upgrade the field, fencing, locker rooms, food and concessions area, bleachers and more. Martin eventually after dozens of residents spoke out against the idea, citing traffic and parking concerns and peace disturbance as key issues.
Haney said he expects to move quickly with hopes of starting construction by September.
Clawson Parks & Recreation Director Mickey Alderman said the city has hired Berkley-based Forsite Design to work on the architectural design for the field and assist with finding a construction company.
"By the end of August we will have a better idea of what’s going on time wise," Alderman said.
Donations for the baseball field can be sent to the Hunter Community Center, 509 Fisher Ct., Clawson, MI 48017. Make checks payable to 'Friends of the Clawson City Park.'
For more information, contact Ralph Haney at 248-613-6525.