Eastpointe, RosevilleJuly 18, 2012
Recreation Authority to begin work on long-term plan
By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer
ROSEVILLE/EASTPOINTE — With the consolidation nearing completion and the passage of a budget last month, the Roseville-Eastpointe Recreation Authority is beginning to look toward the future.
Its next course of action will be the development of a long-term plan for the future success of the combined department. The plan will outline objectives and goals, and the strategies needed to meet them. It will look at everything from programs to staffing and even what, if any, building construction will take place and when.
The plan had been to take out a 20-year bond using a percentage of the millage approved for the authority by voters last November to build an addition on the Roseville Recreation Center, making it large enough to hold residents from both communities comfortably and fixing a few structural problems in the process.
That plan might have to change, though.
“An attorney’s opinion came out after the second or third meeting with the board that we could not bond for 20 years from the millage, even though it would be budgeted from the money the voters approved — that we couldn’t bond for 20 years without going to a vote of the people,” said Tony Lipinski, the recreation director under the authority.
“We can bond for five years, but even with just the repairs, that would take up pretty much the whole budget.”
If the attorney is correct, and Public Act 321 does in fact limit the authority to a maximum of a five-year bond, the possibility of an expansion is unlikely and even deciding which construction projects to take on will have to be picked by priority.
The authority board isn’t sure the attorney is right, though.
“We are still using the money that was approved by the voters,” Lipinski said. “We are not bonding outside of that.”
“I called the attorney general for an opinion, but was told that a state representative would have to make the request,” said Veronica Klinefelt, vice chair of the board. “So we contacted Harold Haugh, and he is requesting the opinion on our behalf.”
Working with Haugh, Board Chairperson Mickey Switalski authored a letter to the state attorney general’s office asking specific questions related to the authority and Public Act 321.
The board is waiting on that opinion to move forward with the development of a master plan. While hoping for the best, at least one board member doesn’t think the future of the department is dependent on it.
“We have to do a master recreation plan. I’m not saying we shouldn’t fix things that are absolutely falling apart, but let’s see in what context all of this will be in and what it means to our overall development of programs,” said Board Chairperson Steve Duchane, also Eastpointe’s city manager. “If you decide what you are going to do and how you are going deliver the service, then the facility questions will be answered in that. Form follows function.”
Duchane calls the building a perk, but says the Recreation Authority’s success isn’t dependent on it.
“I had a very prolific parks and recreation program in Sterling (Heights) for many years, and we used a converted farm house for our offices and ran programs out of public and quasi-public facilities.
“Ideally, every rec director and every recreation department would like to have that fieldhouse where you can program at your will and keep it busy all the time. And maybe we will have that, but I don’t necessarily think throwing money into a retrofit or an improvement in the building that is going to consume 40 percent of our income on a regular basis is the right thing to do.”
And the construction needed on the building, located at 18185 Sycamore in Roseville, could very well eat through half of the annual budget for years to come.
In a report authored by Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc., needed repairs and upgrades were divided into three categories by priority. The civil engineering firm estimates “priority one” items at approximately $1.2 million.
That price includes the $860,000 needed to repair the foundation on the east side of the building; $50,000 to replace a boiler they say is in working condition, but appears to be near the end of its lifespan; and $220,000 for roof repairs.
“I understand buildings are important, especially for seniors, as it is nice to have a place to go and gather, but I’m just not sure the building has to be our sole answer, and I don’t want to get locked into the bricks and mortar,” Duchane said.
Lipinski remains hopeful that the attorney general will come back with an opinion that will make an expansion possible, but he says for now nothing has been ruled out.
“With the location of this building on the south end of Roseville, just a half-mile out of Eastpointe, right off the freeway, we are pretty centrally located and pretty easy to get to for any resident in Roseville or Eastpointe,” Lipinski said.
“It’s in a good location, so if there is a way to utilize this building, I would prefer to keep this as our home. Yeah, there are thoughts about not doing that though, but we have to explore all the options. Right now, nothing is off the table, and everything is open for discussion.”
Discussions on a long-range plan will commence at the next regularly scheduled board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Recreation Center.
Get ready for kickoff party
ROSEVILLE — The Roseville-Eastpointe Recreation Authority is celebrating the completed consolidation of the two recreation departments with a movie night Aug. 13 at Veterans Memorial Park in Roseville.
The free family-fun night, called Park It, will offer inflatable bounce houses and activities for kids beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a family friendly movie played on a big screen at dusk.
The date of the movie night coincides with opening day for registration for fall recreation programs and instructors. Rec employees will be present at the park to provide information on programs and answer questions.
For more information, call (586) 445-5480.
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