Saugatuck Officials Nix Idea Of Community Rec Funding Only Douglas Pickleball Courts
City of Saugatuck officials want to make sure any funding from the city that goes to Saugatuck-Douglas Community Recreation is not used for pickleball courts if those courts are built only in the City of Douglas at Schultz Park, for example.
The city council briefly discussed the issue at Monday’s council meeting, referring to recent discussions between Douglas officials, pickleball advocates and Community Recreation.
A group of local organizers and enthusiasts recently announced they are committed to donating $10,000 to Douglas and $10,000 to Saugatuck for the courts.
The latter entails a proposal to possibly build courts at Schultz Park; the former to convert and improve the existing tennis courts in downtown Saugatuck to pickleball courts.
“To be able to have pickleball tournaments (a subject much talked about by local sports’ enthusiasts) you need eight courts,” Community Rec Director Scott Kierzek told Observer Newspapers Wednesday.
“Now they (donors and players) are thinking, ‘We can’t do that (have courts) in Saugatuck—there is just not enough room to be able to have tournaments.”
Unlike downtown Saugatuck, with prior discussions centering on the possible conversion of the existing tennis courts to three pickleball courts for an estimated $18,755, Schultz Park in Douglas would have enough room to build, from scratch, eight or more courts.
The estimated cost for four courts at Schultz Park is $28,000, while eight courts would come to approximately $52,000, said Kierzek about the one quote he has so far requested and obtained.
The direction the conversation is going in—possibly moving all proposed courts to Schultz Park—concerns Saugatuck representatives.
“In effect, you (City of Douglas) are saying, “You pay for it Community Rec,” said Saugatuck Mayor Bill Hess, about concerns Saugatuck will pay for Douglas courts through its portion of funding to Community Rec, which is supported by taxpayers in both cities and operated by the public school district.
“A lack of any formalized request (on the part of Douglas and Commit Rec), makes it a difficult conversation,” said Hess.
However, Kierzek said the matter is still very much an open question as all conversation is preliminary.
“We are still exploring and we do want to support it,” he said.