Soccer fields ready, skate park underway at EIRC

September 6, 2018

By Pat Maurer

Things are really starting to happen at the new Clare Parks and Recreation Complex, recently named the “Emerald Isle Recreation Complex.”

Clare Parks and Recreation Director Joy Simmer said “It has been a busy summer … on the south end of town.”

Practice has been ongoing and the new soccer fields are ready for the very first games Saturday, giving that organization its first “official home.”

An aerial view of the new Emerald Isle Recreation Complex.

An aerial view of the new Emerald Isle Recreation Complex.

Work is underway to pour the cement for the new Skate and Bike Park concrete pad for area enthusiasts who have waited many years for a home of their very own.

This summer, the “Name Our Park” contest officially closed May 31st. On June 20th the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board picked the winning name and July 2nd the Clare City Commission put their seal of approval on the Emerald Isle Recreation Complex.

Simmer said she had been working with Jan Winter and the PohlCat Golf Course to organize a fundraiser for the Recreation Complex playground and the Skate and Bike Park. Major sponsors for the event August 8th were the Clare Rotary and Clare Kiwanis Club with other businesses sponsoring $100 holes. The successful event raised over $15,000 for the park.

More funds came in when the Michigan Baseball Foundation presented a $2,462 grant to Simmer and the Skate and Bike Park committee June 30th. The check was presented during the Loons vs. Lansing Lugnuts game.

Another grant for $4,880 was awarded towards the Skate and Bike Park by the Clare County Community Foundation in June and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation added another $1,000 grant towards the project.

Simmer said, “The Clare Community Foundation strengthens our community by providing leadership, fostering collaboration on local needs and issues, and encouraging a legacy of giving through grants, scholarships and events.”

With funds available, bids closed for the Clare Skate and Bike Park’s concrete pad on August 15th, with the award going to Gambles Concrete of Harrison, and the City Commission awarding the $39, 500 project to low bidder Gamble’s.

Simmer said Gambles will be starting the ground work within the next month.

Projects planned for the new Emerald Isle Recreational Complex are slated to be completed by 2021.

When the park is complete, it will contain many amenities for the community including the eight youth soccer fields already in use; two premium full size soccer fields including one with lighting and an electronic scoreboard; one multi-purpose field; the Skate and Bike Park; paved walking and exercise trails with adult exercise stations; a Butterfly/Pollen Garden; a concession stand and bathroom facilities; two picnic pavilions similar to the Shamrock Park pavilion; an ADA accessible playground area; paved parking and safety lighting.

2018-19 projects include the Skate and Bike Park, the playground and the Butterfly/Pollen Garden. Projects on the agenda for 2019-20 include the concession stand and bathroom facility in a 65 by 35 foot building with a 14 foot overhang. Until it is complete, portable bathrooms will be used.

Also on next year’s list are the lighting and parking lot paving.

Projects proposed for 2020-21 will include two 50 by 50 foot park pavilions and the last project, a 50 by 60 foot storage unit, which will be used for equipment and program materials.

Simmer credits the success on the recreation complex project to the many donors and especially to the voters who approved the park millage renewal in 2012. Thanks to that millage the City of able to purchase the 26.5 acres on Pinecrest Street behind Tice’s Farm Market for the complex.

There’s lots left to do. Anyone who would like to help make this dream a reality can find out how to help by contacting Clare Parks and Recreation Director Joy Simmer at 989-386-7541 extension 213.


Shown are members of the Winters family at the Jack Winters Memorial Golf Outing which raised $15,000 for the new Clare Skate and Bike Park and Playground projects.

Shown here is a layout of the proposed Recreational Complex.

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