Ensuring ‘the entire community is taken care of’

Gurney Community Club works together to improve recreational areas in Wisconsin town

The crack of a bat. The sound of children’s chatter at the playground.

The Gurney Community Club has been supporting initiatives like these—and many, many more—in this small Wisconsin town for decades.

“The club has been an existing support system for the town of Gurney for 40 or 50 years. It’s been a part of a multitude of upgrades around the town over the years,” explains Aaron Bender, a director of the Gurney Community Club.

“There’s currently 10 of us involved with the club, so we support community events and run fundraisers. The club has always been a part of making sure the entire community is taken care of,” he adds.

Although the town of Gurney is only home to around 100 residents, the town’s events serve thousands of people from neighboring rural communities in northern Wisconsin.

“We were starting to see a bit of an influx of younger parents with younger kids—even some grandkids—coming into the community, so we wanted to improve the park and make it a little bit more user-friendly and accessible for everyone,” Bender says.

The latest project is a suite of recreational upgrades, including improvements to the community playground—and after that, the club will shift its focus to offering more events to draw visitors who can see what Gurney has to offer.

“We’ve put a lot of time and energy into this (park refurbishment) already, which allowed us to host seven bigger baseball games on our field. Before this summer, it had been about 50 years since we had a baseball game in our community,” Bender remarks.

Enbridge is dedicated to improving lives in communities near our operations and projects, including the Line 5 Wisconsin Segment Relocation Project, and our $20,000 grant to the Gurney Community Club will help complete these recreational upgrades.

The full suite of improvements will include playground equipment upgrades, resurfacing of playing areas, planting trees and replacing fences, in addition to the work the club members have already completed.

“We saw when we started doing some improvements that there was a major interest in having more things in our community like this,” says Bender. “We have a campground in Gurney near our community centre, so we wanted to have an outlet for children to enjoy their time here.”

(TOP PHOTO: A 1950s team photo of the Gurney (Stump) Dodgers, so named because of a few remaining tree stumps on their newly built diamond. In summer 2020, thanks to the hard work of the Gurney Community Club, baseball was once again played in the community for the first time in half a century, thanks to a suite of upgrades.)