DAVISON TWP. — The board of trustees tabled plans to apply for state grants that would allow for the conversion of four volleyball courts at the Lake Callis Recreational Complex into multi-use courts for tennis, basketball and pickleball.
The board discussed applying for the grants by the April 1 deadline, but decided to hold off because it would still cost the township between $150,000-250,000. The board decided to wait until it could plan the expenditure into its annual budget.
Casey Reid, director of the parks and recreation department, said she was asked by the new board when it took office in November what her “dreams and wishes” were for the township’s parks system.
“I’ve thought since we started that those volleyball courts would be better used by the community if they were multi-use courts,” she said. “So, it was on my list of dreams that we potentially turn four of those courts into multi-use courts. Right now, we have six volleyball courts – we’d take four of them and get three multi-use courts out of them for tennis, basketball and pickleball.”
Reid said she contacted Rowe Professional Services and for $7,500 they would submit applications for the Michigan Recreation Passport Grant and the Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant – both with deadlines of April 1.
The agreement with Rowe was on the table March 11 at the township board meeting, but the board decided to hold off, possibly moving ahead with the same plan next year once the township’s share of the estimated $490,000 project could be budgeted for.
Trustee Lori Tallman said while she liked the idea, she wondered if there was a demand in the community for the proposed multi-use courts.
“I like the idea of the variety out there,” she said. “I’m just curious what kind of inquiries you’re getting from the public, or comments from the public – are people calling and asking for this type of thing?”
Reid said she has gotten requests, specifically for pickleball courts, which is currently a popular sport and the only facility locally for it is indoors at the Davison Area Senior Center.
Trustee Matt Karr said he thinks spending $7,500 for a much larger grant is worth it, as is getting a $450,000 project done for $150,000, but he questioned where the township would find the money to be able to do that.
“I have concerns about whether that money is going to be there and other things we need to be spending money on before we start dumping more money into the parks,” said Karr. “My concern is would this take place next budget year and how do we know where we even stand right now so we’d know if we can even come up with $150,000-250,000 to match whatever we need to match?”
Supervisor Jim Slezak said the township has the money in its general fund budget. He added he thinks the township’s parks need a boost by adding something like this to offer the public more to do.
“I’m looking at parks right now and the usage, in my eyes, hasn’t been that great,” said Slezak. “I think we’ve needed this, and I know, seeing the original plans, basketball and sports courts were one of the bigger thing that they wanted originally that never came to fruition. This just would bring a lot more people into the park.”
Reid said the project wouldn’t happen this year regardless, with applications due April 1, the township would likely not know until the end of the year whether it received either grant. Groundbreaking, Reed said, would be 2022-23 at the soonest.
Tallman asked Reid if this was something she considered her top priority for the parks, or if there were other projects that were needed more.
“I have a long list,” said Reid. “There are some things I think are important, this is more like a dream than a (need). It would be nice, it would draw more revenue and makes the park more complete, but I have more needs higher than this.”