Town applying for grant to extend park

Published 6:53 pm Thursday, June 13, 2013

Both sections of Maplesville Community Park on Shanks Drive contain pieces of playground equipment next to the baseball fields.

Both sections of Maplesville Community Park on Shanks Drive contain pieces of playground equipment next to the baseball fields.

Expansion of Maplesville Community Park on Shanks Drive could begin within the next calendar year if the town is able to secure grant funding for the project.

The town recently applied for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant through the Recreation and Conservation Program and requested $50,000, the maximum amount available to request.

“We’re applying through the state of Alabama for federal funds,” Town Clerk Sheila Haigler said. “We hope to know by July whether we are in next step of the process.”

Haigler said if Maplesville’s pre-application were approved, the next step would be to submit a full application containing more detailed information about the project, which is estimated to cost about $122,236.

Project plans include building another baseball field; clearing the wooded area separating the original field from the other two fields; installing a bridge and walkway connecting the two field and play areas; reseeding the surrounding grass; and installing lighting and dugouts at the new field.

The Maplesville Peewee Athletics board and the Maplesville Park Board are two groups heavily invested in the future of the town’s primary public park, where children ages 4–12 can participate in recreational baseball, football, softball and cheerleading.

Maplesville resident Shawn Reed remembers a time when his hometown had no public park, ball fields or community sports teams for children.

Reed was among the kids in Maplesville whose parents took them to Clanton or Thorsby to play ball until his parents, Darlene Parker and the late John Reed, decided to change that.

More than 20 years ago, Parker and John Reed helped form Maplesville Peewee Athletics, which oversees the park and all of the recreational youth sports teams.

Shawn Reed currently serves as president of the group.

“Once it got started, the whole community was behind it,” Shawn Reed said. “The whole town would always be behind you.”

The group spearheaded the construction of the first baseball field at that time, as well as the two newer baseball fields four years later.

Reed said the group has seen an increase in kids wanting to play park and rec sports and hopes an additional field will help accommodate everyone participating.

“It’s just a place for the kids to have somewhere to play sports to give them something else to do so that they’re not sitting around,” Reed said. “I think everyone has been there at some point. It’s all for the kids.”

Fundraisers like Boston butt sales and chicken plate sales account for a portion of the Maplesville Peewee Athletic board’s money that can be used for equipment, utility and project expenses.

The Maplesville Park Board gives periodic donations of money and equipment.

Reed said the board sets a goal of raising $3,000 from each fundraiser.

Individual and business sponsorships also contribute funding to the park, along with concessions sales and registration fees.

“We do five to six fundraisers a year,” Reed said. “We have our games that raise money and our town supports the teams. We have registration fees as well, but we try to keep that to a minimum so it doesn’t cost parents an arm and a leg to play.”

Reed said other groups or organizations may use the park for free as long as they reserve it beforehand and agree to pay for any lighting used.

Groups are asked to call Maplesville Town Hall at (334) 366-4211 to reserve the park and to make a monetary donation of any amount to the park.

“We just ask people to give a donation for use,” Haigler said. “People are good about giving donations.”