By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
PLAY BALL – Durand’s Parks and Recreation Board has completed a nearly $30,000 renovation of the two Optimist Park softball fields that includes field resurfacing and new fencing. Not only did the city finance the project, but several staff and council members also donated the sweat needed for the facelift.
The longtime park has seen many improvements over the past decade, such as the addition of a skating rink and the improvement of facilities, but it has also been a target of vandals. Its secluded location lends itself to that kind of mischief, but the city has recently beefed-up the police presence at the park and is in the process of implementing a sophisticated monitoring system – live streaming cameras on the city’s website. (Independent Photo/GRAHAM STURGEON)
The City of Durand’s Parks and Recreation Board would like to invite the Durand community to attend the dedication ceremony/community celebration for the softball fields at Optimist Park at 2 p.m. today (Sunday, Oct. 4) as the city officially names the park’s two fields in memory of Fred Summerhays and Lloyd Fredrick, two Durand residents who were instrumental in the development of the park.
*Summerhays served on the City Council for many years during the 1950s and 1960s, serving as mayor from 1958-1961. He was an active member of the former Durand Optimist Club and was instrumental in acquiring the land that is now Optimist Park. Summerhays was a longtime Durand resident, residing with his family on Mercer Street. His son Jerry is traveling from Tennessee and daughter Mona, who lives in Saginaw, will be attending the dedication ceremony, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
*Lloyd Fredrick served the City of Durand as its fire chief from 1976-1983. He also served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission,
during which time he became the softball director overseeing the men’s and coed softball leagues and maintaining the fields. Lloyd and his wife Pat raised their family in Durand as well. Pat and the children plan to attend the event, along with several grandchildren, who may also be participating in the softball game.
For the dedication the new signage will be unveiled designating the two fields in honor of Summerhays and Fredrick. After the ceremony concludes, the police and fire departments will take to the field for a friendly game of softball. Parks and Rec Director Josh Roddy will announce the game, and Parks and Rec members will serve complimentary hot dogs, chips, popcorn and beverages for the crowd. The public