The Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau advisory committee gave funds to the community of Newman Grove at its monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Representatives from Newman Grove came to the committee to request a grant to help improve the town’s sports fields at Fireman’s Park.
Kristi Anderson, a member of a local committee leading the project, said they are looking to make improvements to concessions, picnic areas, sidewalks and restrooms that will make the facility more capable of hosting large events. The fields haven’t been upgraded since they were first built.
“Our community was approached to host a baseball tournament, and we decided to get together and decide what our fields need, because they haven’t been upgraded since the ’70s,” Anderson said.
Along with events, upgraded fields would be able to accommodate more recreational leagues and teams from neighboring communities and from within Newman Grove. It also could be used to host annual events, such as the Shell Creek Valley Days.
The renovations would not only attract more visitors from surrounding counties, but also benefit a growing local community.
“It’s not just our ball program that needs help; it’s our community in general is lacking in a recreational facility,” Anderson said. “It would open for endless possibilities for our community to use.”
Traci Jeffrey, director of the visitors bureau, said improvement grants from the bureau aren’t very common, and none has been requested by Newman Grove in recent memory. The bureau had budgeted $10,000 for improvement grants this year.
The committee awarded $2,500 to the Fireman’s Park project.
Jeffrey also gave an update on a project to paint murals downtown, in an alleyway between Fourth and Fifth streets.
Jeffrey said painting likely would begin sometime next week as artists finish preparations and the weather improves. Three designs have been approved and finalized. Several sponsors have signed up to help financially, with grant funds being sought for compensation of the artists and paint manufacturer Sherwin Williams agreeing to help supply paint.
The committee also received a report on the opening of the new skate park, ongoing marketing and social media efforts, which include a page for Norfolk in a Nebraska tourism book.