SEBASTIAN — If the Sebastian Lions Club can garner enough votes, the group could win $25,000 it would like to use to fix up the Barber Street Sports Complex. Whether the group earns enough votes will be up to the public – and in particularly Sebastian and Indian River County voters.
“We need as many people as we can,” Sebastian Lions Club member Norman Miller said of residents voting in the contest. He has sent out e-mails en masse asking everyone to vote. The e-mails have spread throughout the Indian River County School District as well as Sebastian City Hall, Miller said.
“If these people would only vote just once,” Miller said – or more than once – then the club could propel itself to the top of the list.
The Sebastian Lions Club is one of 10 groups around the country vying for one of two $25,000 grants to be used for community projects.
“Working with the City of Sebastian, the Sebastian Lions Club wishes to improve, rejuvenate and make safer the 22 acre Sports Complex located in our City on Barber Street,” the club wrote in its application to the Markham Mark of Distinction selection panel.
The complex is home to various sports for both children and adults, including football, baseball, soccer, basketball, and skateboarding.
Miller explained that the grant funds have to be used on “brick-and-mortar” type projects, which is why the club chose to help the City of Sebastian’s Parks and Recreation Department.
He said he talked to the department’s director, Chris McCarthy, who said the Barber Street Sports Complex would be a worthy project.
“He just rattled off a lot of stuff,” Miller said of McCarthy’s needs for the complex.
Such improvements to the facility could include repaving the basketball court, replacing the backboards, installing new soccer goals and purchasing new spectator bleachers.
The Sebastian Lions Club plans to fund-raise within the community any additional monies needed for the project.
People across the country will be voting daily in the contest, submitting their e-mail address once a day on the Markham Vineyards Web site, www.MarkhamMarkOfDistinction.com, as a cast ballot.
Voting has already begun and will run until 11:59 p.m. Sept. 6. The top two vote-getters will receive the grant.
Currently, the Sebastian Lions Club is tied for third place – with 15 percent of the votes. It shares the third place rung with ErieAlert.com, in Erie, Pa. That project would assist Neighborhood Watch groups by providing captains with police scanners as well as offer criminal justice scholarships to students.
The club is one of three organizations in Florida that was named a Markham Vineyards’ Mark of Distinction finalist.
Groups seeking votes are (as of 11:18 a.m.):
The Freret Business and Property Owner Association (1st place) based in New Orleans, La.
I Heart Inc. (2nd place) in Los Angeles, Calif.
Sebastian Lions Club (T-3rd Place) in Sebastian, Fla.
ErieAlert.com (T-3rd Place) in Erie, Pa.
Trinity Café (5th place) in Tampa, Fla.
Swan Center Outreach (6th place) in Silverthorne, Colo.
Community Furniture Bank (7th place) in Birmingham, Ala.
Peer Support Network (8th place) in Boca Raton, Fla.
Harvest Against Hunger (T-9th place) in Seattle, Wash.
Autism GoodDeedWorks (T-9th place) in Phoenix, Ariz.
For more information about the Mark of Distinction grant competition, visit www.MarkhamMarkOfDistinction.com.