The Charlotte Area Recreation Cooperative has submitted three grant proposals to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in hopes of developing softball fields on the north end of the Samuel L. Combs Industrial Park. The grant proposals were submitted March 30 following approval from the Charlotte City Council at its March 23 meeting.
The three proposals represent requests to three different funds of the DNR — Land and Water Conservation Fund, $75,000 request with a $75,000 match; Recreation Passport Grant, $45,000 request with a $5,000 match; Natural Resource Trust Fund Grant, $225,000 request with a $75,000 match.
CARC board member Dave Bankhead said the organization has the potential to meet the $75,000 match requirement of either the Land and Water Conservation Fund or the Natural Resource Trust Fund. Though, the co-op’s money would go much farther with the Trust Fund grant, giving CARC a total of $300,000 for the construction of new softball fields.
“We’re going to continue to look at the grant process through other funding sources as well,” Bankhead said.
The Rec. Co-op, which consists of members from the City of Charlotte and Carmel and Eaton townships, is working with the City of Charlotte’s Land Development Finance Authority (LDFA) to put together a lease agreement to use a 22-acre parcel that resides within the Samuel L. Combs Industrial Park. The parcel is located adjacent to and north of what is considered the main portion of the industrial park, said City Manager Gregg Guetschow. It is undeveloped and has been used primarily as farmland since city acquired it in the early 2000s.
Bankhead said the Co-op has looked for areas in which to construct softball diamonds for the last few years and had taken a step towards the development of one diamond last year when it purchased land, located behind Dunhams and Peebles, from Eaton Twp. The 5.5-acre parcel, however, is fairly restrictive to the Co-op’s plans, Bankhead said.
“Right now we are proceeding with planning as if we are going to receive the grant funds,” Bankhead said. “We won’t know about the grants until the fall.”
The Charlotte Area Recreation Cooperative, established more than five years ago by the City of Charlotte, Eaton and Carmel townships, was created to establish or enhance recreational facilities for local youth. It has helped build the ice rink in Charlotte, helped refurbish tennis courts, helped AYSO secure funding to rent soccer fields and partners with AL!VE to help build walking trails.