Holly Kickball Game Sheds Light on Volz Field
(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 8, 2017)
Holly, MI – A community kickball game at Larry Volz Field in Holly was filled with smiles, community spirit and the excitement of the game. Not only did it bring together children (and the young at heart) of all ages, it helped raise community discussion about the future of the field.
Cyclone park is home of Larry Volz Field, named after a former teacher, coach and umpire who died in 2007 from brain cancer. The field was dedicated to Volz in 2009 and has recently been the topic of discussion by the Village administration and the Recreation Commission.
In December resident-led plans to convert Cyclone Park into a dog park were not well-received by neighbors, raising the question of what should become of the under-utilized field and the grassy areas surrounding it.
Traditionally the park had been used for softball leagues, but problems with the lighting system and a decline in softball participation have reduced the amount of use that the park gets. While there are still pickup games, there have not been any leagues in the park for at least two years.
At a December forum about the potential dog park, Village Manager Jerry Walker said that the cost to repair the lighting at Cyclone Park is estimated at over $100,000.
“It’s not a very attractive park. It’s almost a nuisance,” Walker said in December. “Joe [Hutchins, member of Holly Township Parks Commission] talked about softball being a dying sport. This year we had zero teams that were interested in regular diamond use…We know it’s used but not as a reputable diamond where people want to come and play on teams…. The community should decide what would be a good use [of the park] and I hope people will stay involved and be part of those discussions.”
Hutchins suggested that the Village look into the potential for kickball on the field.“In the last couple years, softball has died. This fall we had no baseball at all up at Sorensen,” he said. “Grand Blanc Independence Park signed up 28 teams for kickball. That’s the new thing.”
The suggestion resonated with Chris Rankin, who serves on the Park Commission for the Village of Holly. He and resident Tony Engelberg organized the kickball game as a stand-alone event.
“We want to see if this is something people would want to do on a regular basis,” Engelberg told the families that attended, “so if there is any interest in more games like this, or starting a league, let us know.”
Saturday’s game started out with a ceremonial first pitch by Kyle Volz, the grandson of the park’s namesake. The Holly Moose Lodge also joined in the fun, with volunteers selling hotdogs, chips and pop.
“The Village is looking into what to do with this park, so if you want your voice to be heard pay attention for those discussions,” Engelberg said. Parks Commission meeting take place the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Holly Board of Education/Village Council Chambers 300 East Street, Holly.
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