Next spring, there will be a new youth T-ball field at the Lee Binley Memorial Park on the west side of Seymour, just north of Thoroughfare Street.
It will be a youth-regulation field.
It will have 60-foot basepaths.
It will have dugouts.
It will have chain-link fencing on its perimeter.
The price tag is $11,800, an expense approved earlier this month by the Seymour Board of Aldermen after the project was presented to the city by its fi ve-member park board.
Better yet, the new field has a sponsor.
The Seymour Merchants’ Association.
Last Wednesday, Nov. 20, members of the association unanimously voted to donate $5,000 to the project and will receive naming rights for the contribution.
“It’s just amazing to me how this thing came together so quickly,” said Michael Kyle, a member of the Seymour Park Board. “We came to the city, they approved our plan, then we got the bids, approved a bid, and now the merchants have stepped up to support this project.”
To the association, sponsor of the Seymour Apple Festival since its inception in 1973, there was no better cause to fund
than one that benefits the community’s youth.
“It’s a natural fit,” Terry Penner said at the merchants’ meeting last week. “For nearly 50 years, the merchants have put on the festival, always putting that money right back in to the community.
“A project like this is special because it’s one that allows us to put a permanent mark down, and we’re doing it at a park named for one of our greatest members, Lee Binley, who spent his entire life serving Seymour.”
Bob Crump, president of the association, wholeheartedly agreed with Penner’s comment.
“The merchants got the GSAF (Greater Seymour Area Foundation) started 20 years ago with a $10,000 donation, and now they have more than $1.5 million in assets,” he said. “We’ve helped projects like the renovation of the historic Owen Theatre, Christmas lights on the square, apple lights for the festival ... and I, like you, think it’s so appropriate that this is occurring at a park that bears Lee’s name.”
As part of the project, the park board asked the city to purchase a crumbling home along Thoroughfare Street, just south of the Binley park, which will be razed, then used for parking.
The home was purchased for just over $8,000.
Demolition of the home will start this winter. The home’s lot measures 100-by-140 feet.
In the interim, before the group’s next meeting in February, the Seymour Merchants’ Association elected Penner to lead a committee of her choosing to determine the name of the new field and to select signage.
When the merchants meet on Feb. 25, 2020, the association will make a final decision on the field’s name and its sign.