Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Corey Sanders has requested city council reopen discussions at its May 11 meeting regarding the reconstruction of the tennis courts at Bennett Park. The council voted 4-to-2 Monday, April 27 to spend up to $75,000 for the project, which would also be funded by community donations and a Michigan Economic Development Council Patronicity grant. The estimated cost of the project is $125,000 for construction and engineering.
Sanders, who voted “no” along with councilman Brad Johnston, said he feels the council should take another look at the project.
“It was kind of pushed through,” Sanders said of the April 27 vote. “I feel there were a lot of unanswered questions.”
Sanders added that he does not want to see the city spend $75,000 on a “want” when there are a number of needs in the community.
“We’ve cut our budget recently and had to lay off employees,” Sanders said. “Maybe we can repair (the courts) for a couple years, just to smooth it over for a couple years until the Recreation Co-op can take it on.”
Eaton Township resident, Emily Williamson, who has worked with councilmember Yvonne Ridge on the project proposal since February, said she has received support from the Charlotte Area Recreation Cooperative for the project.
“When our State of Michigan Patronicity Grant is finalized, the Charlotte Area Rec. Co-op has promised to close the gap between donations from the community and the grant cap,” Williamson said. “That maximizes their dollars as each dollar donated will be matched by the State.”
The Patronicity Grant will match all community donations up to $25,000. If the community fails to raise $25,000 in 60 days, however, the MEDC will not provide any matching funds.
Williamson said she plans to attend the May 11 meeting to help provide answers to any questions councilmembers have.
“If I had to do it again, I would have started with the council so that they and the community would be more aware of the need and the desire I had to make this happen,” Williamson said.
Williamson said she received an estimated bid for patch repair from McKearney Asphalt of $64,000, which included a 1-year warrantee. She said the estimated bid to replace the four courts was $104,000 with a projected lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
“It makes sense choosing to fund a long-term fix,” Williamson said. “The experts at McKearney Asphalt and Hayhoe (Asphalt) both agree that any patching of cracks this size would be a short-term investment.”
Charlotte Mayor Carrie Burch said she stands by her vote to approve up to $75,000 for the project.
“I certainly believe roads are a top priority and we will have plans for that this summer,” Burch said. “But, you still have to invest in the community and I feel a positive investment is a good investment.”
The Charlotte City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 11 in council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall.