By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – The Bulldog junior football and cheerleading boosters presented self-funded plans to expand its Cunningham Park storage building to the Parks and Recreation Commission Nov. 28 before seeking City Council approval.
Bulldog coach and longtime supporter Michael Kilburg and group president Carol Shriver explained plans to expand the existing 24-foot-by-84-foot building, which provides storage space and a concession area, another 16 feet. That would provide 40 percent more space, which would permit additional equipment storage space, as well as shelter space.
Cunningham Park is southwest of the junction of I-94 and Southfield Freeway. The booster group plans to raise $25,000 for materials for the building expansion.
Kilburg said the growth of the junior football and cheerleading program has made it necessary to rent additional equipment storage space, money which they would rather spend on expanding its existing storage building.
“Since 2009, we have been renting these steel (storage) containers at $3,500 a year,” Kilburg said. “That’s a waste of money.”
Shriver, who said there are currently 228 junior football players and 76 cheer participants, said they also need a shelter space in the event of inclement weather during outdoor practices.
“The cheerleaders, when they aren’t indoors for most of the season, they are at the other end of the park,” Shriver said. “And every year we have had a minimum of at least one time where a storm has come in, and they have had to literally run all the way down and then jam in. You’ve got 225 kids in one room.”
“It’s hot, they’re sweaty, they’re scared, and it’s storming, and the parents are trying to get in,” she said. “It is empty when they are practicing, so they can get in there.”
Shriver said the group has 33 football coaches and 22 cheer coaches.
Shriver said the group is a 501(c)(3), so they are hoping to get some material donations to help defray the cost of the expansion.
Parks and Recreation Director Patrick Hawkins said he had walked around the park, and he determined the storage building expansion would not interfere with the baseball diamond.
Hawkins said since the park is owned by the city, the City Council would have to approve the storage building expansion, as would the Building Department.
Commissioner James Perry suggested the commission recommend the concept of the Bulldog storage facility be expanded to the City Council, and that the Parks and Recreation Commission continue to be briefed as the plans progress.
Commissioner Rich Lindow made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Brad Cruts. The motion was unanimously approved.
For more information about the group, go to allenparkbulldogs.com.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])