Edmore Chamber purchases former Montabella football field


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 12:18 pm on Thursday, April 17, 2014

 

The Edmore Chamber of Commerce recently purchased the former Webb Field from Montabella Community Schools for $20,000. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

 

EDMORE — A property that’s been part of Edmore school history for six decades has a new owner.

The former Webb football field was recently purchased from Montabella Community Schools by the Edmore Chamber of Commerce.

Edmore Chamber President Rich Adgate declined to share details about plans for the property, but said future updates will be posted at edmorechamber.com online.

“Once we have completed some projects later this summer, we will be ready to promote,” Adgate said.

The first football game at Webb Field was played in 1966. The field was named after Morley Webb, who was the first superintendent of Montabella Community Schools. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

According to Montabella Community Schools Superintendent Shelly Millis, the Edmore Chamber purchased the property for $20,000, not including closing costs. The school deposited the funds into the district’s general fund account, per school board policy.

On Monday, Montcalm Alliance Executive Director Franz Mogdis gave an update to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners about the property. Mogdis said he is working with the Edmore Chamber and the Brownfield Authority to complete a baseline environmental assessment of the property, which is comprised of 13-plus acres.

“As part of that, obviously, they need to ensure that they are at least aware of and are protected from any problems as it relates to contamination,” Mogdis told commissioners. “I know historically there’s been some information which would indicate that at least part of the football field base was from a disposal site for sand and stuff from Hitachi or General Electric (which ceased operations in 2005). There’s a need for them to ensure that they know exactly what’s there so at least they’re not responsible for that. They’d only be responsible in the future for any new contamination that’s identified.”

Millis said she believes the football field property was originally deeded to the Edmore Rural School district in 1954.

Edmore’s school became part of Montabella Community Schools through the consolidation of schools in Blanchard and Edmore 1966, when the football field was also relocated. Webb Field was named in honor of Morley Webb, who was superintendent of Edmore’s school when the consolidation took place and who became the first superintendent of Montabella Community Schools.

The 1966 Montabella High School football team was the first team to play on the then-new Morley Webb field. Pictured are, front row from left to right, manager Hiram Bearup, Ed Harkness, Bob Price, Bob Farrell, Mack Walcutt, Steve Brooks, Ken Jensen, Dave Haddix, Richard Tupper and manager Steve Howe; center row from left to right, coach Duane Bohne, Jerry Courser, Wendell Nielsen, Art Newman, Ed Foster, Brad Van Coevering, Larry LeFever, Jim Bosch, Bob Jensen, Gary Sunderlin and Bob Haddix; back row from left to right, Rudy Bustinza, Randy Farrell, Dan Cook, Jim Beach, Rick Merrill, Mickey Morey, Don Brown, Leland Withey and Rick Johnston. — Courtesy photo/Montabella Community Schools

According to Daily News archives, Montabella High School debuted a new name, a new field and a new football team in September 1966. Coach Duane Bohne headed that season’s team of 32 young men. That year, the former members of the Blanchard High School and Edmore High School bands came together to form the largest Class C band in the state — 115 members.

Football games continued at Webb Field until 2009, when Montabella opened a new football complex.

“Unfortunately, since that time, the facility has been relatively unused,” Millis said. “We allowed the Edmore Chamber to use the facility for the Potato Festival and also Rocket Football utilized it for practices. Other than that, it remains vacant.”

Millis said the Montabella school board wanted to see the property used by the community again and was pleased the Edmore Chamber decided to purchase the property.

“The use by the Chamber would benefit the community through increased use, which is exactly what the board was looking for,” Millis said.

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