Malone University has received two gifts exceeding $1 million each in support of construction of Pioneer Park, a multi-field recreation and athletic complex planned for university owned property adjacent to state Route 62. University officials hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 28.
Canton-based DeVille Developments has donated more than $1.5 million in addition to more than 150,000 cubic feet of soil to be used for the project. Mike Thompson, Sr., chairman and president of the Montrose Auto Group, has donated more than $1 million for construction of a baseball facility at the Pioneer Park location.
“We’re blessed to have extraordinary community partners in Roger DeVille and Mike Thompson, Sr.,” Malone President David King said. “They are great friends of the institution, and their gifts will enhance the experience we provide for our students while serving as an asset for the greater Canton community. These individuals are investing in Malone, in our students, in our community, and their generosity is remarkable. We will ensure that they are recognized long into the future for all that they are making possible through their gifts.”
When completed, Pioneer Park will provide three new fields with lights. Two of the fields will be used for soccer, lacrosse, softball, football, intramurals, club sports and recreational activities. The third field will be a baseball field for the Div. II Malone Pioneers while also serving as a tournament site for Greater Canton area baseball teams. Malone also will be part of a collaborative effort to bring a summer collegiate baseball team from the premier Prospect League and make Pioneer Park its official home. This effort is being spearheaded by Thompson and Malone head baseball coach Tom Crank with the intent of making the 2018 summer the inaugural season for the new collegiate summer wood bat baseball team.
“These fields can accommodate a variety of activities for our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” King said. “Additionally we have had positive conversations with city leaders and our friends at the Hall of Fame as we are eager to partner with them and utilize Pioneer Park as an additional facility that attracts visitors to Canton.”