July 3, 2013

Community initiatives: Friends making a difference at Hoyt Park

The Friends of Hoyt Park formed in 2008 with the idea of bringing youth summer baseball back to the historic Saginaw park. Focusing on the park’s preservation and the return of athletic events, the group grooms and maintains the ball fields. Then they added more to their plate.


“We wanted to bring the ice skating tradition — which started in the late 1920s — back to Hoyt Park. After funding challenges, the city had to close the ice rinks and warming house 10 years ago,” says Larry Brethauer, president of Friends of Hoyt Park.


After fundraising, the group completed a $400,000 renovation of the warming house in 2012 and have maintained the ice rinks. They are still raising funds for further renovations, including the retaining walls, stairs and accessible bathrooms.


“We use the SCF as a mentor. We realized we’d learn the ways of navigating the nonprofit world faster from the foundation — with fewer mistakes,” says Brethauer. “The foundation has also made grants to Friends of Hoyt Park more than once and has helped by providing names of possible grant sources many times.”


Hoyt Park field house depicted in an undated vintage postcard

Hoyt Park field house depicted in an undated vintage postcard.
(Photo credit: Public Libraries of Saginaw, Saginaw Postcard Collection)