Church, AYSO partner to build athletic fields open to Greenville community

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:08 am on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The land being developed for a new athletic field at the Greenville Community Church is currently being leveled by Borek Digging and Snow Removal of Belding. Grass is scheduled to be placed in May. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

Project Donations

The following corporations have made the donations to the Greenville Community Church athletic field project:
• AGA-Marvel Northland: Donated a refrigeration unit for the concession stand
• American Youth Soccer Organization: Cash donation toward the athletic field development
• Borek Digging and Snow Removal: Donated time to the excavation project
• Brookside Golf Course: Donated soil analysis and fertilizer
• Greenville Public Schools: Donated fencing from old high school tennis courts
• Greenville Youth Advisory Committee: Awarded a $5,000 grant for the project

GREENVILLE — A search for practice fields for a local sports organization turned into constructing a 10-acre athletic facility for the entire Greenville community to use.

The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is teaming up with Greenville Community Church (GCC) to build an athletic facility that will include soccer fields, baseball fields, a skate park and more.

“This partnership with GCC couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Karen Miller, regional commissioner of AYSO. “With construction at Greenville High School, field space is limited for many community sports organizations.”

Over the years, Miller said they have been fortunate to be able to use fields at Greenville Public Schools (GPS) and are currently using the high school practice fields and Yellow Jacket Stadium for the upper level practices.

During the summer of 2011, the Greenville-Belding Church Coed Softball League needed a place to practice, said Chuck Elliott, project coordinator for the GCC athletic fields development. After talking with GCC in hopes of making just one softball field on the church’s back lot, church officials decided they wanted to develop all 10 acres.

A view of Greenville Community Church property where new athletic fields will be placed. The red indicates where two softball fields and eight soccer fields will be built. The blue boxed area will be a skateboard park and the yellow boxed area will be a pavilion and picnic area. — Courtesy photo

The project went from having one softball field to two fields, along with eight soccer fields and a skateboard park.

“Our vision is to create these athletic fields to further promote community fellowship by providing the youth and adults of the city of Greenville and surrounding area with a location where fellowship, sportsmanship and stewardship can be promoted,” Elliott said.

The project began in 2011 with minor prep to ready the area for construction. Some fencing work has been done, after GPS donated fencing from old tennis courts.

Currently the land is being leveled and grass is planned to be seeded in May.

With practice starting at GCC, Miller said, AYSO board members and families have been anxious about the new field use agreement and some have even started sneaking a peek a the development.

“AYSO region 1471 is excited that (GCC) has offered our region this great opportunity,” Miller said.

Greenville Public Schools donated old tennis court fencing to the athletic field development at Greenville Community Church. Workers are taking down the fence at the high school to transfer it to the church. Pictured from left to right are Joe Christophersen, Brad Christensen, Paul Bieri and Lowell Hansen. — Courtesy photo

The project is being completed by private donations from people and businesses. To fund the remaining part of the project, Elliott said approximately $20,000 is needed to complete everything.

“We are in need of more donations,” he sad. “(We) have a three-tier sponsorship package available for businesses to be acknowledged for their donation.”

In the future, Elliott said more items will be added to the area such as a small trail outlining the fields that includes athletic stations along the way.

GCC Senior Pastor Joel Heron said in the six years he has been pastor it has been their mission to “Reach out in relevant ways with the love and hope of Jesus.”

Because GCC is a “come as you are church,” Heron said the church’s vision is to serve the community with activities that bring families together.

“It only makes sense that we would develop our property into a place where adults and children could come and play ball, picnic, skateboard, exercise and enjoy other kinds of fun outdoor activities,” Heron said. “We often say around here that we like to put the ‘community’ in Greenville Community Church.”

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