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Tag Archive | "Skinner Field"

Skinner Field: should it be improved?


OUT OF THE RUNNING—The rubberized track at Skinner Field, once state of the art, is showing some age. The question is, who has the money to repair it?

By Judy Reed

 

When SSGT Charles Towns comes home to Cedar Springs from Georgia, he runs on the track at Skinner Field—and wonders what will become of it. He was recently upset to hear that the school was seeking a sinking fund millage for school repairs, and there was no mention of repairs for the track at Skinner Field. “I just want to know what their plan for Skinner is,” he said in an email to the Post.

On Friday, July 6, 1948, the Village of Cedar Springs paid tribute to Bert Skinner, a leading citizen and businessman. Part of the tribute was the dedication of Cedar Springs Public School’s lighted athletic field, on the west side of Morley Park. In 1991, a gift was given to the school district, to construct a running track at the field. An agreement signed by both the school and city made it available for both school athletic events and the community to run on. It was created partly on school property and partly on city property, with the school district responsible for maintenance for a period of 99 years, or until they relocated the field and running track.

PEELING PAINT—The school district only has the budget to do basic maintenance at Skinner Field.

That happened in the mid-2000s, when Red Hawk Stadium was approved by the voters as part of a bond issue. Most school athletic events are now held at Red Hawk Stadium, although the middle school still uses the track at Skinner, as do members of the general public.  Red Hawk stadium is not open for the public to run on. Other groups also use Skinner Field, such as Rocket football and semi pro teams.

In 2007, the school transferred the last parcel they owned at Skinner Field to the city of Cedar Springs, but the school has continued to do maintenance on the field, such as mowing, trimming, picking up trash, maintaining the turf, watering, and paying the water bill. According to Asst. Superintendent David Cairy, they spend about $10,000 to $15,000 per year on Skinner Field.

Neither the city nor the school system, both with shrinking revenues, currently has money budgeted for repairs at Skinner Field. Under the terms of the contract, the school could remove the improvements if the cost to repair exceeded the cost of removal. The visiting side bleachers were removed due to safety issues several years ago.

“As a voter I would go with a compromise that would allow them to save up for several years. I do not want to sink the school district, but if their plan for Skinner is not to even be concerned, and just let it fall apart, while they maintain Red Hawk Stadium, I find that unacceptable. The whole community uses that track, and they promised to maintain it,” said Towns.

Cairy said that repair of a track is allowable under a sinking fund millage, but they need to look at what their most urgent needs are. He noted that repair of the track could cost as high as $20,000.

Emails by Towns to both the school and the city has gotten the two entities to begin discussing what the future of Skinner Field might be. “In the past 10 years we’ve worked pretty closely together, and share many of the same goals,” said Cairy.

The two groups plan to meet in the near future to discuss the issue.

Do you use the track at Skinner Field? Email us and let us know what you think of the issue at news@cedarspringspost.com.

 

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Chinook helicopter lands at Skinner Field


Jack Price Jr.and his wife Patty (left) with sister Dawn standing in front of the Chinook Helicopter last Friday.

By Judy Reed

Hundreds of people turned out at Skinner Field last Friday, November 11, to see the landing of a Chinook helicopter for Veteran’s Day.
It came about because a resident wanted to honor his younger brother—2nd Lt. Jack Price—a Cedar Springs man killed 42 years ago, at the age of 28, while taking a Chinook helicopter on a test flight in South Vietnam.
Jack’s brother Wayne spent many hours researching what happened to his brother, and met several soldiers who served with him. One of those contacts led him to a Chinook instructor pilot, Timothy Miller, based at the Selfridge Army National Guard Base in Michigan. Through both the pilot’s efforts and City Manager Christine Burn’s request to the Pentagon, the Chinook helicopter landed at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs.
On hand to greet the crew was Col. Tom Noreen, Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, City Councilor Ken Benham, and City Manager Christine Burns. Also on hand was the immediate and extended family of Jack Price, including Jack’s daughter, Dawn, and his son Jack Jr. with wife Patty. After the greeting, the public was allowed on the field to take tours of the helicopter and meet the crew, who along with the helicopter, will all be deployed to Afghanistan December 11.
Wayne and his wife June were pleased with the way it turned out. “It was awesome, much better than I expected,” said Wayne. He said that many people thanked them for doing this for the Veterans.
Other events that day included a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum, and a special ceremony at Veterans Park.  The Cedar Springs Veteran’s Memorial Remembrance Committee coordinated all those events.
The ceremony at Veterans Park included music by the Cedar Springs High School marching band, a vocal performance by D. and Nita White, a history of Armistice Day by Earl Tefft, commander of the Cedar Springs American Legion, a speech by Colonel Tom Noreen, the Kent County Honor Guard, Taps, and prayers by Pastors Mary Ivanov and Craig Owens. Pastor Craig Carter was master of ceremonies.
City Manager Christine Burns was also pleased with the event. “I was absolutely amazed at the number of people who showed up to view the Chinook.  You never know how many people to expect when you are organizing these types of events and I could not have been happier,” she said. “It was a great “team” effort to get the helicopter and crew here and I enjoyed the time I got to spend with them.  They were so grateful for a warm “Red Flannel” welcome and were equally impressed with the ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. It made all the work that went into the event worthwhile. I hope we can do it again next year!”

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Chinook helicopter to land here for Veteran’s Day


Wayne and June Price are shown in front of a Chinook helicopter.

Cedar Springs will honor past and present veterans with the landing of a Chinook Helicopter at Skinner Field on Veteran’s Day, November 11 and a special memorial service at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
CW3 Instructor Pilot Timothy Miller, Army National Guard, based at Selfridge Army Base near Mount Clemens, and five other pilots will man the helicopter scheduled to land at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs. It will be on display for the general public following the landing.
The twin engine, tandem rotor Chinook Helicopter was first used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam to transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle critical cargo in combat and other operations. It is being brought to Cedar Springs through the efforts of resident Wayne L. Price and City Manager Christine Burns.
Price’s brother, 2nd Lt. Jack L. Price, was killed July 16, 1969 in South Vietnam while piloting a Chinook Helicopter on a test flight. Price had been in his 10th year of service in the U.S. Army and on his second tour of duty in South Vietnam when he lost his life. Read more about that in next week’s Post.
Events to take place following the landing of the helicopter at 11:00 a.m. feature a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as a memorial remembrance service at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 1:00 p.m., including a prelude by the Cedar Springs High School Band; an invocation, an Armistice Day History, guest speaker Tom Noreen, U.S. Army Colonel, a firing squad and benediction.

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A special man


Dear Editor,
A special man that lived his life in Cedar Springs has passed on. Mike Holton has left this town a better place. Mike and Alice have been so gracious in their gifts to this town. The new track at Skinner Field, the crosswalk from school to Morley Park, new computers for our scholars, paving the roads in Elmwood cemetery and many other kindnesses that they have given us. Mike was proud of his children that they raised and so are we.  Mike Holten was a hard working self made success that young people can learn from. I was and am proud to know him.

Steve Horowitz,
Cedar Springs

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