By Danica Katnik/

Hartland Township’s Spranger Field will see major enhancements this year.

The township’s Board of Trustees met Tuesday, and discussed and approved a budget amendment for the proposed improvements, which include new fencing and backstops, remodeled facility interior, infield improvements, and substantial tree-clearing along the US-23 right of way. A pathway will also be mowed into the northern area of the park. The pathway is being donated by Preiss Outdoor Services, leaving the budget for the other proposed improvements at a total of $211,000; however, the township’s Department of Public Works believes they will see cost savings in that budget, due to a Hartland Area Youth Athletic Association (HAYAA) Baseball investment of $50,000 paid over ten years to the municipality.

Township Supervisor Bill Fountain explains how the cost savings will come about stating, "We have an arrangement with the youth organizations that use (the parks). One is HAYAA, which is baseball and football; they use Spranger Field. So we give them enough dollars to maintain it as we would and they use that for mowing, fertilizing, whatever else...but they put their own effort into that to make the fields as nice as they want them. So that's where those dollars come from, the township, a small portion, and they make that up and then some on the other side."

The cost of restrooms and concession improvements will come in at approximately $30,000, a playscape at $28,000, $98,000 for fencing, $40,000 for infield material, and $15,000 for tree-clearing. Restrooms will be upgraded to stainless steel fixtures, and the concessions will include new epoxy flooring, as well as a new countertop and cabinets. The playscape will be chosen by HAYAA Baseball and the DPW. Existing fencing will be replaced and baseline fencing will be added to each field. The infield material will be replaced, and the tree-clearing will take place between the ballfields and US-23 row. Efforts to mitigate invasive species at the park are also expected to take place.

DPW Director Robert West will manage the project personally and act on behalf of the township board in awarding bids to contractors and sub-contractors. West will soon put together the bid proposals and then present them to the board so that the work can move forward before HAYAA’s summer season.

Improvements have also been made to the township's Settler's and Heritage park. Fountain says, "The parks are really an important part of our community and having the kids and adults get outside and enjoy these is really important to us. We do not have a millage for our parks so we thought about this before we even built them and built this into our general fund so we can maintain them and give a nice product for people to enjoy."