Optimist Club works to "Spruce Up Sportland"

Members of the club want to preserve the park and improve it so it can be enjoyed by future families. They've established a separate initiative called Spruce Up Sportland.

Posted: May. 16, 2018 10:36 PM

CLINTON, Ind. (WTHI) - It is the largest park in the area and is host to hundreds of kids and their families. Now a group is organizing efforts to spruce up Sportland.

The Clinton Breakfast Optimist Club operates a youth soccer program at the thirty-six acres Sportland Park. Members of the club want to preserve the park and improve it so it can be enjoyed by future families. They've established a separate initiative called Spruce Up Sportland.

Optimist Club member Dustin Wilson says, "A lot of youth sports programs are dwindling. Ours is growing and so it was really common sense for us to support the youth and the thing that they're already choosing to do and just make that program greater."

The group has already raised twenty thousand dollars toward a fifty thousand dollar goal.

Wilson says, "We've done some turf repair. We're currently working on a repaving project for our quarter mile lap track and coming up in June, the first week in June, we're going to be installing some bleachers, repainting the concession stand, picnic tables, adding benches, bike racks, dog clean-up stations and four new grills."

There are also efforts to create a middle school soccer field with a scoreboard and remodel the Wildcat Pavilion stage and bathrooms.

It's a four phase project and organizers say they're in phase two.

12-year-old Dominick Hanson is a soccer player. He is a forward on his Optimist Club United Soccer team. He says the project would be a great development for the community.

He adds, "It could use some improvements but I'm just glad that kids like me can have a chance to play here and have some fun and bond with friends and just get to play a sport and get activity outside."

Club members say the next Spruce Up Sportland project day is June 2nd. Current and previous Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients and others will be on hand to help with painting and landscaping. They'll also work to install new park fixtures.

Hanson says, "I just can't wait to see this place in a couple years and see the kids' faces in a couple years, too."

Wilson says, "We want to support the youth in their activity. We feel like kids being able to have exercise and get outdoors and play is more critical now than it ever has been before."

The Spruce Up Sportland project is done in collaboration with the Vermillion County Community Foundation and Clinton Parks Department. Optimist Club members also thank several businesses and organizations for help with the project: Elanco, White Construction, Tim Cottrell Construction, The Hunt-Spurr Trail fund, Royer Farms, Rediscover Clinton, Union Hospital of Clinton, and ACE sign and Awning.

If you would like to learn more about upcoming Spruce Up Sportland fundraisers, visit the group's Facebook page here.

Donations can be made at here or they can be mailed to the Vermillion County Community Foundation to the attention of the Sportland Park Fund. That address is PO Box 532, Clinton, IN 47842.

Donations are fully tax deductible because the foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

You can also email spruceupsportland@outlook.com for more information.

There are roughly three hundred children ages four to fourteen in the soccer program, according to organizers. League play is twenty-five dollars and includes a jersey, shorts and socks. Games are in the Spring and Fall. For more information click here.

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