State grant will contribute to Sluka Field facelift

Dylan Goetz • Jun 26, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Grand Haven’s historic east-side baseball diamond will be getting a facelift in the near future. 

Grand Haven City Council recently approved a $300,000 Michigan Department of National Resources Trust Fund grant to help fund improvements to concessions, restrooms and storage at Sluka Field. 

The grant will cover less than half of the nearly $700,000 project to improve the building, pathways, recycling bins and utility upgrades. Construction costs alone are expected to exceed $500,000, according to the city’s preliminary project budget. 

City Manager Pat McGinnis said the city will try to confirm a contractor and create a renovation plan at an upcoming City Council meeting. 

“If we are able to build it in such a way that some future users might be able to expand or build on, add lights and put on fences, that’s fine,” McGinnis said at council’s June 18 meeting. “This is a restroom, concessions and storage area for Tri-Cities Kids League and Sluka Field.”

A year ago, City Council entered into an agreement with the Grand River Loggers, a collegiate summer league baseball team in West Michigan. The Loggers hoped to use Sluka Field as their home stadium, and many upgrades were proposed. That agreement was crafted to ensure the Loggers had “reasonable control over the field” when they played games there, while others could use the facilities fully when the team is on the road or outside of its regular season.

Due to a change in ownership, the Loggers did not field a team this year. Loggers representative Ben Davis said the team is now in the process of being taken over by local owners, and there is an “80 percent chance” that the team will be playing next season. They are considering invitations to several leagues, he added.

Should the Loggers take the field next year, Davis said it would be their goal to play at Sluka Field, and they would like to put up fences and lights to play night games.

“We are doing what we can to keep some good baseball in the long haul,” he said. “We are trying to make sure to keep it local in Grand Haven.”

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