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Letter to the Editor- Brookwood 2.0 project good for school, good for community

Dear Editor:

Over 30 years ago, our community built one of the most impressive athletic facilities in northern Michigan.  Brookwood Athletic Complex was a dream to many people and that dream became a reality in 1979 through hours, days, weeks, and months of blood, sweat, tears.  As years went on, the Complex developed even further with a first class baseball and softball field.  And, even in recent years, the growth continued with the development of a soccer field.  Throughout the years, since the first shovel was turned, the school, boosters club, community, and many private supporters of the athletic program have continued to build onto that original dream.  Locker rooms, concession stands, dugouts, press boxes, fencing, irrigation systems, etc. have been constructed to help keep this facility as first class.  It has always been looked at as the class of our school and community.  For many years, visitors from around the state were in awe of such an outstanding complex.  I’ve heard it for many years as we hosted districts, regionals, quarterfinals, and semifinals in all sports and even finals in track and field in the early 80’s.  In addition to providing us an amazing showcase, it also helped in bringing families to our school district.  We have, for years, been known to provide our students with both outstanding academic and athletic programs which are the deciding factors for families moving into the area.

Now, comes BROOKWOOD 2.0!  After 30 years of use, our facilities are showing the wear and tear.  With the strong leadership of former student/athletes of Clare High School and the support of the Administration of CHS, we would like to upgrade the football field and track along with some other improvements to, once again, be the best facility around.

Having coached football here for 32 years, I have seen the demise of our field over time.  The drainage system, the turf, the grade of the field causing a huge crown in the middle and the strength of the soil has deteriorated.   And with increased use, it is bound to get much worse in the coming years.

We feel that it’s time to take it to the next level with a state of the art turf.  This turf is as close to real grass as you can get.  This field turf would benefit the many programs that the school and community offer to the students of Clare Public Schools.  Everyone could benefit from this project.

How do I see it impacting our community and schools?  I will list just a few.  I’m sure there are more that can be added to the list:

Tremendous savings in Maintenance. Weather will not be a factor.

Football Program:  3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grade youth programs are now using the field.  9th/JV/ Varsity programs.  All of these programs could use it for practice and games.

Soccer:  From the youth programs to the high school teams it will give them an outstanding facility to practice and play on.  In addition, they could play some games under the lights.

Baseball/Softball teams could use the turf as an option for some practicing due to inclimate weather.

The marching band will have a quality surface to perform on.

Numerous tournaments in football and track and even marching band.

Hosting of numerous summer camps in all sports.

Other functions from concerts to graduation to anything that requires a quality turf surface.

It should be understood that this surface requires no special shoes/spikes to participate on, unlike the original “AstroTurf”.   We have played on similar surfaces at Central Michigan University, Alma College, Midland Community Stadium, and Ford Field and footwear has never been an issue.  The players loved these surfaces.

The football program strongly supports this project.  We know that it will also be a huge showcase for our community and an attraction for families who want the best opportunities for their students when making a decision where to locate in the area.  Who wouldn’t want to be part of such an awe-inspiring facility? In 1965, when I was 10 years old, my parents had to make a decision where to locate in this area due to a job situation.   After searching around, they decided on Clare.  Why?  One of only two lit little league fields in the state at the time.  Parents still want their children to have the best opportunities possible and I’m quite certain that would be the case with Brookwood 2.0.

As head coach of the Clare High School Football program for the last 26 years, I know my days of leading this program are numbered but my roots will always be Clare and my blood will forever bleed green and white.  I want this program to continue its success and the community to be proud of what they have built for the future generations of Clare Football.  Our football staff is made up of 6 men who have played for the Pioneers over the years and are very passionate about our program.  We feel that this project will be one of the best things that could happen for the students and community of Clare.  We strongly endorse Brookwood 2.0 and hope that other community members can join us in seeing this vision come true.

If you have any questions related to this project, feel free to contact me or any other football staff member.  TOGETHER, we are Pioneers!!

TRADITION NEVER GRADUATES”

Sincerely,

Kelly Luplow

Head Football Coach

Health/Physical Fitness Teacher