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The Press Newspaper

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Like most members of the Northwood Recreation Board, Al Singlar has children who play baseball and/or softball in Northwood.

Singlar became the board's president in January, but he served as vice president prior to that. He has been a board member for five years.

"I had a daughter who played softball and I had a son who was playing baseball," Singlar said. "I have a little one now in the second year of T-ball, and there's really no place to play. I started coaching girls softball and we went to towns like Genoa, Gibsonburg and Graytown and they all had these nice fields. Northwood, we didn't have anything.

"I got on the rec board five years ago hoping to make a difference and get some ball diamonds here."

Those diamonds, it appears, are on their way.

Singlar said he was confident that Northwood City Council, at its July 2 meeting, would give the go-ahead for construction to begin on two new ball diamonds next to the Miracle League diamond at Brentwood Park.

"Northwood only has one diamond in the whole city, at Central Park," Singlar said. "There is another diamond at Lark, which is owned by the school board. With these (two new ball diamonds), we'll have three diamonds. We can run tournaments out here.

"In Northwood, it seems like we're always playing in an Oregon league or a Genoa league. We could run co-ed leagues, or a men's league. We'd like a concession stand out there. A lot can happen once these diamonds are built. A lot of times there aren't enough places to practice with all these teams - everywhere from T-ball up to 14-and-under."

Northwood City Councilwoman Connie Hughes, who serves as council's liason to the Northwood Recreation Board, said council has reviewed the plans for the two new diamonds. She said contract bids went to council's service committee.

On Monday, Hughes said council was going to show the recreation board the plans for the two new ball fields at Thursday night's council meeting.

Nearly $200,000 will be needed to complete the project, according to Hughes, who said $160,000 of that funding would come from a payment that city council received from Evergreen Landfill (Waste Management).

"We are the host community for that landfill," she said. "We got that payment in the first part of April. We had entered into a contract with them, and they got a few things from us. Council negotiated this contract. One of the benefits we received was a payment, and one of the conditions was that it was going for parks and recreation.

"The rest of the money is coming from a fund that was set up approximately six or seven years ago. When a new home is built in Northwood, there is a $500 fee. Six or seven years ago, council decided that fee would go into an account (whereby) the city has to acquire land for parks or recreation. Now, there is approximately $65,000 in there. With the payment from the landfill, that will cover the ball diamonds, all the fencing, everything the ball diamonds will need for completion including a paved driveway."

Hughes, whose family has lived in Northwood for 32 years, said, "It has been a dream of mine to have a (athletic) complex. We can run tournaments and, hopefully at some point in time, we can put lights up there, too."

Singlar said the Northwood Recreation Board has been focusing on local baseball and softball for years.

"We do a lot of softball and baseball programs," he said. "We're involved in everything - park upkeep and stuff like that. Since I've been on (the board) it's been a lot about baseball and softball. They've been trying to get ballparks for Northwood for a very long time."

Singlar said the Northwood Recreation Board is scheduled to receive funds from Evergreen Landfill this year as well as in 2111 and 2113.

"It's all supposed to go toward recreation in Northwood," he said. "Every meeting the rec board has is (centered on) baseball. We've got ideas for other things with this money, like improving the tennis courts at Brentwood, even a sand volleyball court at Central Park - just stuff we could use with this money.

"Most of it will be spent towards the ball diamond. It seems like it's been a fight for about 20 years. Mayor (Mark) Stoner has gotten behind this. He's very excited about it."

Singlar said if city council approves the construction of two new ball diamonds, the project should begin almost immediately.

"I would hope for it to be finished in September, if not sooner," he said. "I'm hoping we'll be able to play on those fields next spring. We will still need lights and fences, but this has been a giant hurdle. That will come in time. I think it will be wonderful."

Singlar said one of his goals is to get more people in the Northwood community involved with recreation.

"There are so many things we can do," Singlar said. "I just want to see things for our kids and parents to do. We invite people to come to our meetings to tell us what they think. We want to get input from everybody. Lots of stuff has to go through council, but we can always make recommendations."

The Northwood Recreation Board meets the second Monday of every month at the City Municipal Building. The next meeting is July 13.

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