Scottville continues McPhail Field improvements

April 27, 2023

Scottville continues McPhail Field improvements

SCOTTVILLE — The City of Scottville has been continuing to make improvements to McPhail Field. Recent parking lot improvements have been partially funded by grants from the Community Foundation for Mason County and Great Lakes Energy People Fund. The work has been done with the Scottville Department of Public Works staff with assistance provided by the Mason County Road Commission. 

“Mary Samuels (director of the Mason County Road Commission) and her staff at the road commission have been great to work with,” said Scottville City Manager Jimmy Newkirk. “Scottville just doesn’t have the equipment to do this kind of work and we are so appreciative of the relationship we have with the Road Commission,” Newkirk said. “From asphalt for potholes in the summer to road salt for roads in the winter the assistance we get from the Road Commissioner cannot be understated.”

“McPhail Field has seen steady improvement over the last couple years despite generating very little revenue. The two large diamonds were improved last August with the addition of over 50 tons of new material on the infield surfaces. The field currently hosts a Sunday softball league, six to eight small softball tournaments, summer recreation little league, and Pop Warner football. The new surfaces for parking and vehicle traffic will greatly improve areas that have been neglected for many years.”

Revenue to support McPhail Field currently totals about $2,000 annually. Field rental fees are only charged for the adult softball league and tournaments. The Pop Warner league also voluntarily contributes to defray costs for maintenance to the football field and improvements for their program.  But in the 2020-21 fiscal year revenue didn’t cover the water bill let alone mowing, supplies, and maintenance costs, Newkirk said. 

Mason County Central Schools oversees little league programs that serve rural Mason County.

The City of Scottville currently spends about $20,000 on McPhail Field. “We’re not trying to make a profit but when expenses outpace revenues 10 to 1 there needs to be some changes,” Newkirk said. “The vast majority of use of the field is by non-city residents. Basically, the taxpayers of the City of Scottville are subsidizing the recreation needs of those who live in townships with larger budgets than our city.” 

Newkirk said in order to keep expenses down the city has made some changes to practices and procedures at the field. Some of those changes included closing the restrooms and renting porta-jons at all of the diamonds and football field. The water is still on and available at fountains and spigots. 

“The restroom facilities were being abused and often water was left on all night, sinks and toilets were vandalized, and repairs those facilities only added to the maintenance costs,” Newkirk said. “While not the desired situation for users of the fields the cost of contracting with a port-jon company provided the resource for far less cost.”

In an effort to help offset costs, the City of Scottville has established a McPhail Field improvement fund. Donations can be sent to the City of Scottville, 105 N. Main St., Scottville, MI 49454. Businesses and individuals can also advertise. A 4-foot by 4-foot sign on the outfield fences is a $200 commitment annually for five years or a one-time donation of $1,000. Donation forms are available on the City’s website,. Forms can also be picked up at city hall. 

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