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Letter to the Editor- Brookwood “concerns” answered

Dear Editor:

Since the beginnings of this project anyone that has comments or concerns have been asked to give input or come to meetings. We would gladly meet with any group or individual about their concerns or to talk about the project.

In this case I can’t since the concerned are unsigned.  But there are a few facts in this letter that need addressing.

This is not a Clare Public School’s funded project at all; this is a community fund raising project.  If the community doesn’t feel the project should happen, then the funds won’t be donated and nothing will be done.  There are no plans for a millage.  The community will vote on the project by donating or not donating.

This not the old Astro-Turf from the days of the Silverdome or Astrodome.  This is field turf and there is no cement under the playing surface.  Cement is only used for large stadiums that might hold a concert or have vehicles driving on the surface.  There would be a new drainage system built to allow for the proper drainage of the field.

There are no lines painted on the field. All the lines are part of the field, so while most of the playing surface is green where the lines are the actual grass is white or whatever the color of that line is.  The lines don’t need to be painted on a weekly basis like on a grass field, saving the school time and money. The field will never need to be watered, mowed or fertilized.

The field will have soccer lines just like football lines on it, just like all of the multi-use fields used by high schools and colleges in Michigan.  The soccer field will be regulation size; it has been approved by the boys soccer coach Doug Helmling who is part of the committee and has been included in every meeting.  All of the coaches have been asked to participate and have given letters of support to the field.

A good example is the Freeland field put in last year by Freeland School’s where Clare will be playing their first varsity football game this fall.  The soccer lines are a different color than the football lines and will fit within the track as it will be all turf inside the track. Many schools also have lacrosse lines as part of the field as well. The Rocket football teams both played on Freeland’s field last fall as did the JV football team.

The Clare Youth Football program, grades 3rd/4th and 5th/6th used to play in Midland but now play in Clare at Brookwood.  The Rocket Football program uses the Brookwood field as its home field.  The High School football program uses the field, usually a freshmen, JV and Varsity team.  There were weekends last fall where 7 games were held on the field.  That is a lot of wear, too much for a grass field.

The field could be used for far more events or games than it currently can be.  Varsity Soccer for boys and girls, youth and high school football, band and whatever other events could be scheduled.  The field could be used for playoff games for soccer and football well into weather that would tear up a grass field in late fall.

The project also includes resurfacing the track which is past due and we are also looking at the safety of the bleachers as they are over 30 years old.  The bleachers are currently not handicapped accessible.

The school doesn’t have the money to improve the grass field, drainage wise or in any other way.  Just repairing the drainage doesn’t solve the issue of overuse where turf does and it allows for even more teams and events to use it.  This field allows Clare to hold those late season football playoff games like Clare used to and also to host playoff soccer games late in the season with a consistent field not changed by weather.  It would also allow soccer games to be played under the lights or for larger soccer tournaments to be held.  These playoff type games or state championship track meets bring thousands of people to Clare, who pay to enter to game, buy concessions and also potentially spend money in Clare.

The Brookwood Complex was built by the community on donations and in-kind work and so will this project.  Anyone is welcome and invited to attend any of the meetings to discuss any concerns.

John Punches