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Committee Proposes Plan to Revamp Clawson City Park

The next steps will be raising the funds and determining a timetable for upgrades to the facilities.

A Clawson Parks & Recreation committee has rolled out a $1 million preliminary plan to revamp the aging athletic facilities at .

The committee has recommended a multiphase implementation plan that includes updates to the football and baseball stadiums as well as the soccer and softball fields and tennis courts.

In fact, City Park is so outdated and in need of repairs that league coaches in the Macomb Area Conference (MAC) voted the baseball field at City Park the worst in the Tri-Counties, committee member Mike Bosnic said at a joint / meeting Tuesday.

Bosnic, who is also a Clawson school board member, has been working with the committee for more than a year to help devise a plan for the park. The 10-member committee comprises city officials and school and community sports coaches.

"It can be a a jewel for the city," Bosnic said as he presented the plan at the meeting Tuesday in the media center. "But right now, it's not realizing its full potential."

The committee has said the park's exhausted state has limited its use and has affected the city financially. Bosnic pointed out issues such as increased maintenance costs; loss of revenue streams, because the city can't lease the park in its current state or outsource it for track meets; and the loss of current or potential residents because of the park's "image of neglect."

Minor league baseball proposal jump-started changes

Last summer, concerns about the outdated baseball field rose when a professional baseball team owner at City Park if the city would allow his minor league team to play home games there.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.

Bosnic and Parks & Recreation Director Mickey Alderman were on board and meeting. However, Martin eventually after dozens of residents spoke out against the idea, citing concerns about increased traffic, disturbance to a peaceful community and other issues.

Phasing in improvements

After the controversial proposal was pulled, the committee continued to meet and constructed a plan for the park, while considering input from residents. Members decided to divide the plan into phases because each facility has its own needs.

An eight-page document, "Clawson Park Planning Task Force Business Case," lays out the following plan:

The football stadium would be the first phase and priority for the committee. New artificial turf would replace the natural turf; a new track around the field would allows schools to host track meets; new visitor bleachers would be added as well as new overhead lighting, a scoreboard and security fence. The estimated cost for the field — constuction and maintenance included — is around $850,000. The track would cost $280,000-$373,000; overhead lighting $122,000-$130,000; and the visitor bleachers $50,000-$60,000.

The next phases would come as resources are available, Alderman said. The committee proposes that the baseball stadium receive a new grass infield, irrigation and drainage system, replacement of dugouts and a new scoreboard and fencing. The estimated cost for the baseball field is about $40,000, he said.

The committee also wants to remove the three concrete tennis courts at the park and put new ones by the volleyball courts. The plan calls for developing one soccer field, one Little League field and relocating the northwest soccer field.

Resident Gerald Maliszewski was at the meeting Tuesday and said he thinks a plan like this is long overdue for the city.

"I think the plan is really good," said Maliszewski, adding that it will take a lot of consisent planning and community outreach to execute the project.

Paying for the plan

While the plan may seem desirable for many residents, it won't be possible without multiple funding resources. Alderman said he doesn't anticipate any general fund money from the city or Clawson School District — especially not with both entities strapped for cash and the city asking residents for a , he said.

Moving forward, the committee will be responsible for researching grants, seeking sponsorships and organizing fundraisers. 

Raising the funds and implementing each phase of the plan will likely be a gradual process, Alderman said.

"We’re hoping to work as hard as we can to develop that timetable," Alderman said. "We want to make a tremendous effort in this next year to do the fundraising."

The football field and track upgrades are the first priority, Alderman said. Bosnic said the school district would like to be able to host track meets at City Park, something it hasn't done in 10 years. 

Bosnic said that in the long term, the revamped park will also bring in more revenue streams because there will likely be more interest in renting it for events.

Next steps, leasing

The city and school district have signed a letter of intent that allows the Parks & Recreation committee to move forward with the plan. In addition to finding the funding, there will need to be a lease agreement between the city and school district that solidifies the roles of each party with the park. 

City Park is public, but the school district uses it for football games, baseball games and other activities. Bosnic said the district is paying the city approximately $8,000-$10,000 a year for park maintenance.

Alderman said the committee will need to determine who is responsible for renting out the facilities once they are revamped because both the city and school use them. The committee will also have to propose a plan for who covers the maintenance expenses at the park.

Once a lease is written, attorneys and officials for the city and school district will review it. "My hope is that the district and city can get a lease hammered out in the next two months or so," Bosnic said.

Clawson schools Superintendent Cheryl Rogers said she is on board with the plan. "It's a win-win for all of us," she said.

Joseph Boledovich January 29, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I am sorry Mark, but as long as we are in these tough economic times, park upgrades must take a back seat to vital city services. Regarding the lights. My side patio is on Highland, one block from the park. I can almost read my newspaper at night, on the patio, because the parking lot lights are so much brighter now, than they used to be. And, I do not see how a few random acts of vandalism means the entire park must now be illuminated at night, all night. And, while on that subject, at the very least, can't someone turn them off during the annual fireworks display? Jerry: I do find the park to be destitute. I take my grandchildren there all the time. The condition of the playing fields may well be another matter. Maybe it's time to think outside the box. Must every suburb have state of the art athletic fields? Or, couldn't smaller suburbs, like Clawson, join together to create one nice state of the art athletic field instead? Just asking. While I gladly voted yes to support the computer upgrades for the high school, I cannot support any increase in taxes to support athletic field upgrades. Priorities!
John L. February 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I commend Jerry and all Clawson residents that are trying to make our city and our parks better for the children. Joseph, I'm sorry that you don't feel that it is a priority, but to many in our city it is. This committee is not looking to raise your taxes, but to seek alternate sources of revenue i.e., donations for companies/corporations, grants, etc. in order to make our city better. Did you not read that part? I agree that city services & our schools are a higher priority, but attracting families to Clawson is also important. If our schools AND athletic facilities are top notch, families would really want to live in and stay in our city. While I don't think that joining with another city is a feasible option, what if we did, and the solution was to improve Clawson & have that be the field that Clawson/Royal Oak or Clawson/other small suburb uses? Would you support that? Our track has been unusable for over 10 years. Between Mavericks, High School, Middle School football, PLUS boys soccer, our football field is in constant use during sports seasons. I'm sorry that you are upset about the lighting. In my opinion, I like that the park remains illuminated to deter any acts of vandalism or violence that could potentially occur. It makes sense to be proactive. I use motion detectors around my house for the same purpose. And, FYI, I live so close to the park that I hear every football announcement with my doors & windows shut.
mike smith February 03, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Joe why did you move near the park if you hate everything around it,
Gerald Maliszewski - RE/MAX February 03, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Although its not a bad opinion, how would you ever get several cities to have a central park? What would that plan be outside of the box? The article above specically states the following "Paying for the plan While the plan may seem desirable for many residents, it won't be possible without multiple funding resources. Alderman said he doesn't anticipate any general fund money from the city or Clawson School District — especially not with both entities strapped for cash and the city asking residents for a millage increase in February, he said." Your comment says you find the park to be destitute, while I assume you meant to say not destitute. The east side of the park is very nice, no doubt about it. Its great for walks and I have taken my kids there. The west side of the park isn't a "stroll in the park". I will post a video for you. Did you know that a track meet hasn't been there in 11 years? Do schools just decide not to run track meets at their home facility when it is in good condition? Did you know that the varsity baseball field was voted the worst baseball field in the conference, according to Coach Haney? I will make another post at the bottom which will include meeting notes from the board last week. Hopefully it will shed some light on the progress this board is making.
Gerald Maliszewski - RE/MAX February 03, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Clawson City Park Improvement Committee January 24, 2012 Members in attendance: Mike Bosnic, Michael Paquette, Steve Haney, Travis Cochran,Gerald Maliszewski, Jon Kingsepp, Jim Sparks and Mickey Alderman. A fundraising subcommittee was formed to set goals and develop an action plan. This will include seeking out grants and developing a database of potential sponsors and donors. The initial committee will consist of Mike Bosnic, Ted Verner, Jim Sparks, Steve Haney and Joe Bedford. The committee will report on their progress at the next meeting in February. Travis will work with the Clawson Foundation to develop policy and guidelines for donations towards the City Park. It was discussed whether more than one account be setup if someone wants to designate a certain project. A lengthy discussion was held regarding the letter of intent between the City of Clawson and Clawson Public Schools. Topics included the following: - Maintenance: who will be responsible for upkeep and the cost attached to it; - Schedule: who controls use of the facilities; - Revenue: who would collect it for the outside use and how would it be split; - Marketing; - Signage; - Letterhead development; and - Security of the facility. The committee will discuss these topics in more detail at the next meeting and plan on having a draft by the next joint meeting on May 4. The next scheduled meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 22 at 7:30pm.

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