Image: Sanford youth baseball fields remains

The dam break and devastating floods in May in Sanford not only destroyed homes and businesses, but also the village park that contained youth baseball fields.

Piles of trash & rubble, mounds of sand & weeds are all that’s left in what used to be the village park in Sanford.

“I loved it. It was amazing here. There was a lot of great experiences,” said Eli Olmsted of Sanford.

Olmsted is one of around 300 kids that used to play youth baseball on the fields at the park, which is located right next to the Tittabawassee River and the second dam that failed in May. Because the fields were destroyed, Olmsted and his friends are playing ball in other towns this summer.

“It’d be great if it would be back to what it was because then the whole community could play and sometimes if you don’t have a ride, people would walk down here to play and we can’t walk into other towns,” said Olmsted.

A group of local residents are trying to restore the park.

They started a GoFundMe page called the Sanford Youth League Flood Rebuild.

It’s an effort to raise the $600,000 needed to remake the baseball facilities which includes six ball fields.

“This park was a focal point for the village. For many years, people from different communities would come here and fish and use the pavilions and play ball,” said Dolores Porte, President of the Village of Sanford.

Porte told TV5 that federal, state, & local funding maybe on the way to help the rebuild, but nothing will cover 100% of the expenses.

So, residents like Chris Bowen, the President of the Sanford Youth League, are taking it upon themselves to try and raise what’s needed. 

“It’s not gonna come easy, there’s gonna be a lot of work that’s gonna have to be done to get there but we’re gonna pull together to make sure it happens,” said Bowen.

As of today, GoFundMe page has raised over $29 thousand dollars.

Organizers tell TV5 they hope this story helps get the word out so more local citizens and businesses can step up and help out.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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