The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved moving forward with plans to develop pickleball courts behind Fire Station No. 2 off 21 Mile Road.

The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved moving forward with plans to develop pickleball courts behind Fire Station No. 2 off 21 Mile Road.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Board decides on pickleball courts for undeveloped property

Dog park was previously under consideration

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 20, 2018


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township is moving forward with plans to develop pickleball courts on a piece of township property off 21 Mile Road, backing away from a call for a dog park on the same property that began in 2016.

A potential dog park was originally brought up two years ago for the property that sits behind Fire Station No. 2 on the south side of 21 Mile between Garfield and Romeo Plank roads. However, concerns from neighbors eventually tabled those plans to give the township more time to look at alternatives.

In the two years since then, nothing moved forward for the property and the topic of the dog park was once again brought up at the June 27 Board of Trustees meeting. The concerns from residents were once again raised and the board decided to table the discussion to give Parks Director Sal DiCaro a few weeks to seek out alternatives.

At the Aug. 8 board meeting, DiCaro presented basic plans for three uses of the one-and-a-half acre piece of property — the proposed dog park, four pickleball courts or a walking path and workout area.

The extra time also allowed Fire Chief Robert Phillips time to chime in, and the township decided no matter what was put in there, the driveway should not be shared with the fire station due to safety concerns, which added additional costs.

In the end, the board voted to move forward with plans for pickleball courts. Trustee Roger Krzeminski, who has been a proponent for the dog park, was the only board member to vote against the motion.

“This is the fastest growing sport in the country and we have had a lot of requests that we are neglecting the south end of the township, so this is an amenity there,” DiCaro said. “And we have had requests to do things for seniors, and while pickleball is for everyone, right now it is a senior-driven program.”

Pickleball courts, along with a dog park, were in the top five of the most requested items by residents on a recent parks and recreation survey. Plans for a dog park will now shift to a piece of property at 24 Mile and Foss roads as the township continues to work on concepts for that property.

DiCaro said the quote for four pickleball courts on the 21 Mile property is $425,812, which is based off courts that Clinton Township recently put in. That includes $70,000 for blacktop, a pole and net system, gates and a water fountain.

More than half the cost will be for the driveway, parking lot and bridge over the drain that runs through the property. The cost of $237,000 would have been for any project, DiCaro said, as safety for the residents and the Fire Department was “paramount.”

DiCaro said pickleball courts made the most sense for that piece of property and Phillips agreed.

“Our apparatus still have to exit out of the back of the building, so I am completely opposed to anything at Station No. 2 that has to share a driveway,” Phillips said. “From a risk-management standpoint, my preferred option would be the pickleball courts.”

Krzeminski first made a motion to move forward with the dog park, but he received no support before Clerk Kristi Pozzi made a motion to proceed with the pickleball courts. In bringing up the dog park back in June, Krzeminski said he has heard from a lot of residents that want a dog park there.

“For a dog park, it would be used all year long and we have more dog owners than pickleball (players),” Krzeminski said. “People can walk to this site and the trees buffer the properties going west. And the number of people using the court could be louder than the dog park.”

At past meetings, many residents have spoken up against the dog park because of the chance of dogs barking and disrupting their homes. DiCaro said the dog park estimate was for $433,822, which included the driveway additions.

The walking path and workout area would have been the most expensive, with estimates at $469,890 plus the cost of a fitness station, which DiCaro said could range from $4,000 to $40,000. It would have promoted health and fitness, but DiCaro said there are walking paths at Waldenburg Park less than a mile away.

At the 24 Mile and Foss property, the board approved a $14,9000 contract for planning services for a potential park in December of last year. Township Engineer Jim Van Tiflin said they are still going through concept plans that include a dog park, splash pad, tennis courts and a picnic area, although no consensus has been made yet.

Pozzi said she has never received so many emails about a topic since joining the board after the November 2016 election, and is happy to be moving forward with pickleball courts.

“Property in the township is becoming few and far between that is available for us to purchase for parks,” Pozzi said. “I think pickleball courts will work out here and there will be less resistance from residents. It has been interesting to see their passion for courts to go in this area.”