Thursday, May 08, 2008


City creating its own ‘Field of Dreams’
Special to The Oakland Press

Kevin Costner’s field of dreams was a fictional drama brought to life in the imagination of a screenwriter. But for Pat Kelly and his Makos Football team, the dream of a home field would come from their own imagination and sacrifice. While the city of Auburn Hills is building a multisport athletic field, Kelly did something a little “crazy.”

“I put in a zero bid to build the concession building,” Kelly said.

The regular bids had been around $175,000 to build that portion of the dream field. Seeing his heart and dedication to the kids, the City Council awarded the bid to Kelly, a local contractor — and told him he was crazy to do so.

“The field thing has always been in Auburn Hills’ master plan,” Kelly said. “I had been eyeballing it because we had been playing all over the place for home fields. So when the city decided to build it, we wanted to be a part and really make it our home field. We just thought it was something we could make happen.”

The Civic Center Multisport Field is at Cross Creek Parkway, behind the community center. Kelly actually was inspired by a team similar to his in Boise, Idaho, that had developed a 20-acre area into their field of dreams. Working in construction, Kelly had the know-how and a few connections, so he decided to “be crazy and go for it.”

“I started putting out feelers to my suppliers and the response was overwhelming,” he said. “Everyone
seemed to be on board and wanted to do something like that.”

Kelly started taking donations of anything from a single screw to bricks to help with the project. He put in his bid to the city and won the opportunity to build the concession stand.

“We’re going after it,” he said. “Superior Block has donated upwards of 3,000 cinder blocks for the project. We’re going have guys working volunteer labor and we’re going to fundraise whatever we have to pay out of pocket.”

Kelly plans to pay for the needed expert labor through donations for the key parts of the construction, but looks to handle most of the project himself while his co-workers handle his day-to-day responsibilities at his own business.

“People ask what we’re looking to get out of this, and really it’s nothing more than having a home field for our kids,” Kelly said. “But just to know that long after we’re gone, this club will have a place to play. We just want to give back more than anything else.”

And Kelly’s ideas don’t end with the concession stand — he has plans for locker rooms and much more. But right now, it’s one cinder block at a time for his “crazy” idea. Construction is expected to begin in May and be completed by late summer. All monetary and labor donations made to the Makos Football Team are tax deductible.

Makos Football is a youth football team competing in the Northern Youth Football League. The league was created in 2005 for kids ages 7-14, to promote youth football, cheerleading and pom pon. The league has 12 teams in eight franchises. The Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Birmingham, Lake Orion and Waterford franchise carry two teams at freshman and junior varsity levels. The Brandon franchise does not have a varsity team.

The league is a nonprofit organization managed by its franchises. More than 200 kids participate each year.

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