The new shed will aid many of the local teams that play at the Field of Dreams. City of Hillsdale | Courtesy


Irri­gation systems, circuit breakers, open wells don’t mix well with storage of sports equipment. Until now, the Hillsdale Recre­ation Department has had to cram all of this and more into one room at Field of Dreams.

Now, thanks to gen­erous dona­tions from com­munity members and a $9,134 grant from the Hillsdale County Com­munity Foun­dation, the Recre­ation Department is on course to build a new storage facility starting this spring.

According to Recre­ation Director Michelle Loren, the facility will be used for storing sports equipment, grounds main­te­nance equipment, and other items. Addi­tionally, it will allow sole use of a smaller main­te­nance room attached to the con­cession stand for its intended pur­poses, such as elec­trical boxes and the facility’s open well.

“We’ve had to use it for storage,” she said. “But you’ve got kids running in and out of there, and so we were con­cerned with the safety aspect of it.”

There is cur­rently an addi­tional small shed on the grounds, which the Hillsdale Soccer Club uses for storage. Loren said the Recre­ation Department prefered to build an existing structure, rather than allow more of these sheds. This will help keep the grounds orga­nized, and will also allow for con­ti­nuity in the appearance of the buildings.

Without dona­tions, the project would cost an esti­mated $27,500. The $9,134 grant from the Hillsdale County Com­munity Foun­dation, however, is helping to offset this.

“This project will benefit the Recre­ation Department and all of the other groups that,” HCCF Director of Com­munity Engagement Amber Yoder said. “Field of Dreams is an amazing place and a great benefit to both those within the city and outside of its limits.”

Several other local business have com­mitted to helping make the project a reality. Jonesville Lumber is pro­viding the mate­rials for the project at cost, while Kyser Con­struction, Stoll Con­struction, and Double A Land­scaping and Supply will offer goods at cost and donate labor to the con­struct the building.

“Every­thing at the Field of Dreams has been done without tax­payer money, outside of main­te­nance,” Loren said. “All of that has been built off of dona­tions, tour­na­ments, things like that. So it really does belong to our com­munity.”

Addi­tional funding will come from the Field of Dreams Fund — which is revenue gen­erated from tour­na­ments at the Field of Dreams — the Field of Dreams Endowment Fund, and an in-kind donation from the Department of Public Service.

The building will allow storage of more than helmets, balls, and pads. Loren said she plans to also store field grooming equipment in the shed, such as a tractor and its attach­ments. Pre­vi­ously, these were stored outside, where they were exposed to the ele­ments, causing unnec­essary dete­ri­o­ration, according to the Recre­ation Department’s grant appli­cation to HCCF.

Loren said she hopes to pur­chase a new tractor for the fields in the near future, now that there will be a suitable place to store it. This will allow for improved grooming and main­te­nance of the fields.

According to the grant appli­cation, this project falls in line with the Recre­ation Department’s mission of being a “good steward” of the facility through con­tinued improvement, so that all in the com­munity can enjoy the facility.

“It’s a place where people can come together,” Loren said. “It’s really our summer home.”

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Stevan Bennett Jr. is a senior from the pumpkin capital of the world, Morton, Illinois. He is studying economics and journalism, and plans on attending law school after Hillsdale. He has written for the Collegian since 2014 and is the sports editor. His addictions include coffee, the Chicago Cubs, NHL 2015, and miscellaneous adventuring. email: | twitter: @StevanBennett