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Minor League Baseball Looks to Clawson for Ballpark

Team owner says upgraded City Park would be home to a pro team and spark economic growth.

Professional baseball may be coming to Clawson.

A minor league baseball team wants to call Clawson home by revamping the City Park baseball field for its seasonal games and making it a landmark for family entertainment.

David Martin, president and general manager of Summit Professional Baseball, said he's been scouting locations in Oakland County for a home field. Summit Professional Baseball has already purchased the team, which will be part of the Frontier League — an independent professional league with teams across the country.

Martin presented the plan to the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, saying Clawson is an ideal community for the league.

"We feel Clawson is that all-American city that can host that all-American game," Martin said.

The games, played May-September, would bring business to Clawson from spectators, fans, visiting teams and seasonal jobs for operations at the park, he said.

His plan is to open with the 2012 season.

Summit Professional Baseball would invest around $1 million in the project and doesn't plan to use any public tax dollars, said Clawson School Board member Mike Bosnic, who is on the parks committee that met with Martin to discuss the plan.

"The economic growth could be amazing," said Martin, a former Clawson resident. 

Parks & Recreation Director Mickey Alderman agreed. "I think it's great," said Alderman, adding that he has been talking to Martin about this vision for years.

If the Planning Commission approves the proposition, Martin said Berkley-based Forsite Design would design the field. Upgrades would include lights, the field, fencing, locker rooms, food and concessions area and bleachers.

"We're going to improve what you have already," Martin said.

Bosnic said some school district officials support upgrading the field for minor league baseball. High school baseball and softball teams would also be able to use the field if they don't conflict with minor league games.

"I'm excited; I think it's a great proposal," Bosnic said. "Having this sort of capital investment in the area is going to get the community excited."

In addition to baseball games, Martin said he would like to organize events throughout the year at the field, such as winter festivals with an ice rink, baseball camps and concerts.

"Our No. 1 thing is fun," Martin said.

Martin must submit a site plan application for review by City Planning Consultant Vidya Krishnan. It will address crowd and traffic control at the park, security and protecting the quality of life for residents near City Park, Krishnan said.

Traffic was one of the key concerns residents had who live near the park.

"Traffic study would have to be done first," Clawson resident Cindi Averill said on the Clawson Patch Facebook page. "I don't want traffic on my street, all summer, like 4th of July night!"

Resident Christine Westgate Bender said she is worried about where all the cars will park.

"It seems like a mostly good idea," Bender said. "If the plan is to use street parking it changes my opinion a bit. I worry that our streets would become very crowded."

The news has also brought excitement to some residents.

"Bring on the minor league baseball!" Christa Kalcec said on Facebook.

After submitting the application, the City Planning Commission would discuss and possibly vote on it at a public hearing Aug. 23, Krishnan said.

City Commissioner Tina Airress said she would support bringing minor league baseball to Clawson. 

"I think it's going to be good for the community," Airress said. "I think it's going to put us on the map."

Dave H August 18, 2011 at 10:57 PM
now that I have heard it great idea
Dave H August 18, 2011 at 10:58 PM
what does th Dream Cruise have to do with baseball?
canseeallsides August 19, 2011 at 03:06 AM
So on one hand I hear, "It's good for business and will bring in lots of people." But the same people say, "Don't worry it's only a mere 43 days" if you are concerned about traffic, noise, crime, pollution, hidden costs or any nuisances at all. Which is it? I just checked and Clawson is already on the map. Why not renovate an area in the vacant business section off crooks that is empty and already zoned for such a venue. Then we can have "Baseball in Clawson" bring in business without compromising anything and without all of the residents valid unanswered concerns. It is because there would be a much higher cost to put their business anywhere else but the Clawson Park. But this cost is apparently offset by the sacrifice of the affected Clawson residents, they will pay. Many will pay and some will benefit. I agree, this needs to go to a vote so everyone hears about and everyone gets a voice in the decision. This is an unprecedented move of leasing a business in a taxpayer owned green grass park. If you pay taxes in Clawson YOU own this park. Love it, hate it. Good or bad for Clawson shouldn't you have some say in leasing land you own? Shall we remind the planning commission; Sec. 34-604 (d) A major objective shall be to retain, enhance and protect the quality, value and privacy of residential land uses.
cw August 19, 2011 at 03:40 PM
But its not just 43 days. Aren't there also plans for concerts & other events to take place as well? The people that are paying all of that money to renovate the area & going to get their money back & make money, and use the stadium as much as they possibly can. I missed the meeting but heard that they are putting in new little league fields as well....just wondering where those are going to go. I'm not against it, just not for it either. I don't feel like enough has been explained.
michael J August 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Ever get the feeling Clawson has turned into the City of the Evening, Beer and Cracker Jack's me, and I'm your's, This city use to care about it's residents, The Mayor would say, "All about the QUALITY of Life" Well just recently, Zonimg Change at Elmwood and Crooks, has eiminated 2 Homes, when they sell, can not be to a another person wanting to live there. the homes will come down, and go Commercial. That is 4 to 6 less votes, now it is all about $$$$ and no "Quality of Life" I notice there are no plans to put Home Plate, at Hendricksen and High st.. that would wipe out Half the Boards............... plus a pass councilmen. amazing how the city Govn. can be Nimby's also.
canseeallsides August 21, 2011 at 04:32 PM
One of the residents set up a site with information, thank you. Please share this information with anyone interested in our Park so we can all make an educated and informed decision. http://www.clawsonbaseballpark.com
peanuts anyone? August 23, 2011 at 04:03 PM
sooo....do I get this right?...Martin and the rest of the investors (for profit) were ready to pay out nearly 9 million dollars in the Waterford plan are now offering Clawson a ONE million dollar "upgrade" to the city park? What? Why are they not willing to buy their OWN land and build their OWN stadiuim for their 'OWN' profit? 'Someone' (namely Mr. Martin, who USED TO live in Clawson) knows 'Someone' in Clawson who thinks they can make this plan happen quietly before the residents even know what hits them. They are just scratching each other's backs (or elsewhere..ahem, their pocketbooks) !!!! Mr. Martin, if you buy my home in Clawson near the park, and LIVE in it, please do!! That way your 'fondness' for Clawson would be seen in a different light...
mike smith August 23, 2011 at 05:28 PM
I would like you to ask Mr Martin if he is scratchin each other's back and in their pocketbooks. at the meeting tonight. I bet you wont do that. you are hiding behind the computer
michael J August 23, 2011 at 06:05 PM
There is a tie in! Don't you think Memorial Park at 13 w/parking etc. be better, R.O. off the record had death ears. Mr.smith, things are closer related, then just 5 generations. you are out of touch,Cityatty is Pres.of Roch hills plan'g brd, the city eng, is same out there, pres of one P Brd, while advising another. ours Little Ceasers, softball, played in East Detroit, sold beer, it was great, 40 home runs per game,thats just for the home boys,a beer what a treat, in 3 yr's it dried up, and the nieghborhood went down with it trashed all the fields in this league are NOT IN A RESIDENTIAL. little bigger look what happen around Navin Field, Old Crk Twn, residents sold out to, to make parking money.. soon it was Tiger Stadium, bigger yes, but the area around it went. Last Night a girls soccer team practiced in the out field on the big diamond, they were locked out of the soccer field, that would NOT happen if the stadium was in place! They would of been locked out of there also. Some one says we have use of the west end of park., Football,fld says keep off track says use at your own risk,The soccer field is locked, when not in use, to maintain integarty, The Ball field will also be locked if I was investing. so really what is open for residents,Don't think of just 48 more dates,185 days are unuseable,(winter) there are practices, tennis matches and practice, soccer for J V and HS, boys and girls, games and practice, foot ball, pract. and games, now add in rec usage.
mike smith August 23, 2011 at 06:42 PM
ok Mr history buff, I guess you need to move, what a disgrace to the community
Denise Seipke August 23, 2011 at 06:52 PM
Enough of the name calling and rude comments already--on both sides. Emotions are running high on this. Tonight's meeting will be tense. And if the zoning board votes in favor of the baseball proposal, it will not be the end of it--expect residents to resort to other legal means. Tying up so much public land for a commercial venture is upsetting to many in this town who pay taxes to support a particular way of life.
mike smith August 23, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Denise all this is the results of lies,false information that was put on the Patch. The park is a mess all they are trying to do is to put something nice and fun into the city. what is wrong with someone putting 1Mm into the city? Legal means that is interesting thought, useing taxpayers dollars for the city to defend themselves I didnt start the name calling and the lies that weere put out there. By the way only the people that are objecting will be the loudest and most rude, you watch!
Denise Seipke August 23, 2011 at 07:27 PM
The objectors will be loud; as many are afraid their objections will be overlooked. If the plan is approved, legal means may be the only recourse, as the Planning Commission are not elected officials that can be recalled. Reacting to lies? No, most people who live on the North side of town have put up with 4th of July the whole time they have lived here and are reacting from experience--4th of July activities are met with mixed feelings by many. You can expect them to be vocal. Parents may be loud as they are upset that bringing people into the neighborhoods can compromise their children's safety and recreation. Soccer areas will be lost. Even though baseball is considered an "American": game, it is soccer that draws kids, since almost all can play; every soccer area in town is in constant use! Finally, the citizens of Clawson should be upset that they are not getting a voice on the use of public lands that they own. But the name calling is unacceptable; intelligent people should be able to discuss the issues.
Brian August 23, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Then I guess the only winner in this will be the City Attorney.
canseeallsides August 23, 2011 at 07:37 PM
I am proud of our community and our willingness to participate. I believe people can be for Clawson and love baseball BUT still have concerns or even be totally against this proposal. I may not agree what you say or how you say it but I will defend your right to say it. What a great time of communication we have, let's use it for sharing ideas and ideals positively. Thank you everyone for your comments. Denise is so right about the name calling, it's NOT about how you feel about certain people for the way they feel, it's about how you feel on the issue, which in this case is an extraordinary special use of a residential area.
michael J August 23, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Denise, Legal? I heard some will do what they do on the 4th. park all their vehicals and trailers on the street to leave their drive ways usable for visitors, or them selves. make all others walk further, I guess that means all the people who live around the park and use the spaces for their own use,? team count on them being usable for games?. That Is what I heard this week. Not a zoning meeting, it is a planning board, for non compliance, which tells you right there, some thing is amissed, unless they are including the ZBA, according to the last posted memo, they are off till later in the month or Sept................. you see it will be what it will be................... there are already 150 homes for sale, not counting the ones that are empty.......... just cause they don't have an orange sticker. There is no problem with some one wanting to spend 1 mil. do it in compliance, and in the right area. as far as those who live around there knew, when they bought, what about the people in the DDA area, who are now being taxed a mil more, and can not make changes to their homes, or they have to be up dated, take the condoes, they are all paying one mil. more, and it is illeagal for them to be even be in the dda, which was by force. so an other lesson from Mr. History Buff. there is no emotion here, it is amazing what smiles we have on our faces over here. that some one can't just debate with out slander, you see if you know the rules you can partake. w/o Blood Preasure pills.
Denise Seipke August 23, 2011 at 07:56 PM
People have the right to park on the streets, even if it means leaving their driveways empty. Houses are empty and foreclosures continue. My house is not worth what I have put into it. Taxes in Clawson are high, though the services over the years have been good. I have lived here 36 years, and yep, my blood pressure will probably be up tonight. I have listened to both sides, but I have my own opinion. But I want to hear facts, not just emotion, and I DON'T want to hear name calling. We will probably all still all be living in this community when the baseball issue is resolved, and I would like Clawson to remain a nice place!
mike smith June 29, 2012 at 02:27 AM
MIKE j WHERE ARE YOU
Haulin T Male July 02, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Our asst city atty. has moved on to become the City Atty. of Traverse City, she now understands, there is no comparison, to where the White Caps play ,(wide open space) appx 9 miles out side of town. & Where the defunct team was trying to force their way into a neighborhood. she agrees it was not the same & should not of been used. I hear.
Haulin T Male July 02, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I after reading the blogs, which were not all of them, I decided to hunt down The Rippers, as in Jack the Ripper, seems they are more about beer then say base ball? trouble follows trouble, Macomb Co. welcomed them, yet in all the wide open spaces, they were forced to leave the Country, appears they alienated the people of London On. from the start. sharing one base line for their beer sales the other team gets the other base line (?). I am sure there will be more to follow. grin http://londonprobaseball.com/news/headlines/index.html?article_id=93
Larry Smith July 23, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Haulin get your facts straight and read everything including all of the real facts I think a report to the Patch would be nice would like to hear what you have to say
Larry Smith July 24, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Hauling ask the former city attorney to blog her opinion of the baseball team in clawson, not your here say The team didnt try to force his way into the city, the team coming to Clawson is over. so what is your point??
robert m mack July 24, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Haulin I agree get over it
Larry Smith July 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
no comment hauling?
mike smith August 08, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Haulin where are you?
Terri B August 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM
I think this sounds like an excellent opportunity for the City of Clawson and families to be able to enjoy some summer fun with their families without having to go to Detroit to watch a baseball game. Yes I live right across the street from the park and have concerns also, but it cannot be any worse than listening to the CHS football games and the music they are allowed to boardcast over their sound system which I personally find appaulling. I think this will also bring the values of our homes back up. Hopefully they will figure out the parking issues that obviously would occur before this is a done deal. Bring on the Baseball games All American Fun in Clawson what could be better than that!!!
Joe Clawson August 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM
The annual $250,000 plus addition to the local economy would have been a nice boost to Clawson, let alone the investment in our Park. This issue floated by "Haulin" is a red herring.
Haulin T Male August 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Joe & Terri: the Rippers went broke, caused embarrassment to the League, (league has placed Players who wanted to try and cont. on other teams, I hear. the city of London filed a law suit on the contracts the Martin guy never full filled, The league will not allow him or his backers back in. I just got back from T City, the team plays 9 miles out of town.
canseeallsides August 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM
We dodged a mess and I would like to thank the sensible ones that saw right threw their "plan" for the damage that could have been and the ones that worked so hard. And to the ones that wanted so desperately to believe this was a good thing for the city, you were so wrong and...YOU'RE WELCOME!
Haulin T Male August 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Cansee: This town is so filled with Dorthy's, when The Wizard of Clawson, hid behind the curtain of empty purses filled with Monopoly Million dollars of phony promises, using Carrots the size of the wizard of Oz's voice. He new it was getting to the point of no return, so he bailed, (he was smart, compared to his few supporters) he tried Macomb county, they smelled a story so he went to London, Ont. Can. where he met his Water Loo, the Walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Remember on his way out, he pointed out all the negatives, pretty shallow, now the league has banned him, they were not willing to give him the third strike after 3 foul Balls. What is scary, some thought they saw Utopia, we don't have to pay higher Taxes, we have the River City Music Man as our savior. (which is the real reason they got ugly towards the ones who saw through this charade) I expect those people to now pay for the field upgrade, there looking for Donations, 7 so far, at 7,000 per, (LOL) a grass infield ? I played on a grass one in '57, '58,'59 @ derby Jr. high, B'ham. what we dodge is huge atty fees, and court costs, one of his down falls, was his treatment of Londoner's after he was in, and "BEER" sales, seems over there they watch base ball, not drink, they do that at "hawkey" games, we did dodge a bullet, it was the City Atty, (still here) who tried to push this through, instead he sent his Female asst.where was he??. remember we are now the highest taxed city in Oakland County 31

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