Aging Clarke Park and Field get a big step toward new life with $20,000 donation from 1st Source Bank

Schreiber chats with LaPorte City Councilwoman Rene Scherer.

DeCamp’s Band of Brothers members Mike Riehle and Darrin Brooks break ground.

Two guests check out the renovation plans.

Mike Riehle talks to the crowd with Mark Schreiber (left) and Darrin Brooks (right).

LaPorte Park and Recreation Director and DeCamp Band of Brothers member Mark Schreiber addresses the crowd.

Matt Vessely, 1st Source Bank regional president, presents the $20,000 check with Mark Manering, 1st Source Bank dedicated senior lender; Tom Powley, 1st Source Bank Banking Center branch manager; Carey Garwood and Steve Bernth, LaPorte Park Foundation board members; and Mark Schreiber.

Matt Vessely, 1st Source Bank regional president, shakes hands with a Slicer JV player.

The crowd gathers for the dedication.

WNLP photos and story by Bob Wellinski

LaPorte Park and Recreation Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber told the group gathered at Clarke Park Saturday morning, April 28, 2018, that the ballgame is in the bottom of the 9th and a victory is within reach. Although the day’s Slicer JV baseball game hadn’t started yet on Clarke, their home field, Schreiber was referring to the fundraising efforts for the Clarke Park renovation.

For more than two years now, DeCamp’s Band of Brothers has partnered with the LaPorte Park and Recreation Department and LaPorte Park Foundation to raise $170,000 to renovate the aged park that at one time was “a hub of community activity.” Located on the city’s south side, the six-acre park, bordered by Norris Street, Martin Street, Greenway Street and Farrand Avenue, was donated to the city by the Clarke family in the 1930s.

Although the DeCamp group is still $25,000 short of its goal, a $20,000 donation from 1st Source Bank will allow the project to begin with a complete renovation of the baseball field, including new grass infield with irrigation, fencing and backstops, dugouts, bullpens, and spectator areas. Other areas to be addressed in the future are: ADA-compliant access to the baseball field; playground replaced and moved to a safer location away from the baseball field; and other possible future additions such as a picnic shelter, basketball courts and off-street parking.

DeCamp’s Band of Brothers started when former Slicer baseball player Jeff DeCamp was diagnosed with cancer. The group started raising money to help with his treatments. Even after DeCamp passed away, the group decided to use the money to renovate the park as a tribute to their friend.

For more information on DeCamp’s Band of Brothers, visit the Team Decamp page on Facebook.

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