Greg Brown may have been known as Archie Brown’s grandson some years ago, but he’s made a name for himself and is paving the way for future generations much in the same way is grandfather did for decades. Among his many projects is GBGB Holdings, a company he co-owns with his brother Gerry. The two are working on multiple projects and Greg was at the Carmi Kiwanis Club’s meeting Thursday.
GBGB Holdings purchased the radar base south of the Carmi Airport in March of 2015. The base served as a slave site to the 784th AC and W Squadron in Fort Knox in 1956 where it housed 120 airmen. While the base closed in ’57, it wasn’t until 1993 when the US sold all the remaining property due to funding cuts for radar sites.
The first of two projects Greg briefed us on was Big Mister Practice HQ which is housed in what was the chow hall of the air base. Brown says between he and his brother, they have 6 kids that all play ball and…“there’s never any place to go [practice] in the winter time. The original chow hall was a perfect fit. We’ve installed 3 batting cages, two with pitching machines and one for soft toss. There’s also golf driving nets with 3 tee boxes 30 feet deep, 12 ½ feet tall. We’ve got plenty of balls and shag bags, just bring your clubs.”
Sodas are available for purchase and wifi is included for free. Folks can book cage time online at www.bigmister.net. Cage time is just $15 per hour and that’s per cage…as many people as you want to share with are welcome in the cage you rent. As Greg puts it, “we’ve tried to make it as much as we can kid and adult friendly and to be honest with you if it doesn’t do anymore than pay the light bill out there, it’s worth it, we’re ecstatic. My kids get to go out there and use it and practice. We have a lot of fun.”
The other project is making serious headway in spite of the freezing temperatures thanks to good ole fashioned fortitude and teamwork. Greg calls it near and dear to his heart…the Archie Brown Memorial Park is a direct tribute to his grandfather who was well known as a giver to his community, even if often times he did it anonymously.
Off Stewart Street where Illinois Street intersects, The project, technically under the Browns Fertilizer & Chemical umbrella, consists of 5 acres which when complete will be the home of the park. A softball field is under construction and when complete will be gifted to Carmi Middle School and High School for use. On the
property, they’re also constructing a football field for Jr. Pro to utilize as a practice facility. The hope is to be open by the time the girls start their season.
You can find pictures of the progress on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gbgbholdings/?fref=ts.