A positive sign for Dowagiac

Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Last week, the Dowagiac Union Schools tipped its hand on yet another project its leaders have in the hopper at the moment.

The district announced its plans to construct new fencing around Chris Taylor Alumni Field, replacing the current wire structure with black steel and brick, bringing it more in line with the decorative gate at the entrance of the football field.

While this certainly will spruce up the appearance of the structure, the new fencing is just a portion of what school leaders have in the works for the space around the lot.

The biggest change will be the installation of a new digital sign at the corner of the lot, at the intersection Spruce and Paul streets. The sign will be used to display both information pertaining to the schools as well as any submitted information from the community at large, according to Superintendent Paul Hartsig.

The best part for residents: these improvements will come at no expense to them, as the district’s fundraising arm is soliciting donations to pay for the project.

So far, First Source Bank and Wolverine Mutual Insurance Company have stepped up to the plate to assist school leaders with the project, donating a combined $22,500, the price the district expects to pay for the new sign.

The installation of the sign and new fencing is expected to break ground at the same time as the second phase of improvements — paid for through 2015 bonds — to Chris Taylor field next year. In the meantime, the Dowagiac Schools Foundation will be raising the funds needed to pay for the new fencing.

While you would think that simply trying to juggle the upcoming renovations of the football field, high school and elementary buildings would be enough to keep administrators busy, we are glad they are going the extra mile to move forward with these improvements as well.

The football field is one of the first sights to greet visitors to the Grand of City who drive in from the west side of town. In fact, it is why the corner where the sign will be placed is used by the district and others in the community to promote upcoming events, job openings and other information.

When you combine these planned upgrades with the work the city has done in recent years to improve the appearance of downtown by tearing down the Goerlich Building and renovating Commercial Street, Dowagiac’s aesthetics are definitely on an upswing. And a more attractive community will mean more interest from visitors, as well as from people and businesses looking to find a new home.

We wish the district good luck with the upcoming project, and we thank those who have contributed to the effort so far. We think it will be a very wise investment in something the community will treasure for years to come.

Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of General Manager Ambrosia Neldon and editors Scott Novak and Ted Yoakum.