A steady stream of parents and kids in costumes headed into Calcara Park on Detroit’s east side for candy and a free baseball to celebrate the renovation of the baseball diamond.
Attending children were the first to run the bases at Calcara Park while collecting candy at each base and a baseball at home plate. Comerica Bank employees distributed goodies and told parents about upcoming leagues when the diamond is finished in spring.
“We called this a Pitch and Treat event,” says Pat McCann, vice president and national civic affairs manager for Comerica Bank.
In September the bank awarded Detroit PAL a $25,000 Grand Slam Grant to restore the diamond. Comerica Cares employees recently painted the existing backstop – the only evidence a baseball diamond once existed here.
Curtis King, grandfather of Harrison and Devon King, says the ball field will be a real boost to the neighborhood, especially for Harrison who would be eligible to play t-ball with a Little League team in the spring.
Meanwhile the kids were delighted with chocolates.
Krystal Hollamon and her daughter, London, came to see friends and scoop up a few Mary Jane’s and Mr. Goodbar’s.
This is the sixth year Comerica has helped Detroit school kids enjoy baseball and recreation.
Calcara Park is adjacent to the new Ross-Hill Academy which will move soon to a building adjacent to the park. It is just a few blocks from Gleaners Community Food Bank and Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project.
The school was formerly called Ralph Bunche Elementary and Middle School until shuttered by Detroit Public Schools.
“We felt this would be a good location for our partnership with Police Athletic League because a baseball field would support the new school,” says McCann. “This will be a healthy place for kids to play ball.” The park and the academy were also the site of a community makeover project by Comerica Bank volunteers and neighbors from the surrounding community earlier this year.
Comerica Bank and Detroit PAL completed the first phase of the renovation project in October.
Renovations included clean-up of the existing backstop, removal of turf and creation of a new infield, and the installation of new players’ benches.
A second phase of renovations will be completed next spring prior to the start of PAL’s youth baseball season, including the addition of bench-area fencing for player safety.
“Comerica is proud to support the youth in our community by providing avenues that allow them to stay active and have quality places to play,” said Michael T. Ritchie, president of Comerica Bank-Michigan. “PAL offers an excellent opportunity for officers to engage with new generations of the city’s residents and we want to salute those who have dedicated so much of their lives for the betterment of others.”
Comerica Bank’s Grand Slam Grant program was developed in 2011.
“This year we are trying something new, because we want to support this dynamic community surrounding Ross-Hill Academy,” McCann says.
With $25,000, something truly dynamic can happen.
Now, if the Detroit Police can nab some of the speeders whizzing 50 miles an hour on Charlevoix past kids and parents in costumes, the neighborhood will do very well by its citizens.