JACKSON TWP. – Seven full-size soccer fields are part of a multi-million dollar plan to develop 40 acres that were once the Tam O’Shanter Golf Course.
Township administrators reviewed plans last week for the athletic fields, as well as projects at North Park and Fisher Park
The administrators want to build pickleball fields and have a synthetic ice rink in North Park. There are plans to replace the playground equipment at Fisher Park.
The cost of the Tam O’Shanter project is estimated at over $ 4 million. Township officials hope federal funds from the US bailout can be used to pay for the work. The funds can be used for tourism and the township hopes the park will attract soccer and lacrosse tournaments.
“We are building a tournament facility,” said township finance officer Randy Gonzalez.
Administrators hope parks will boost tourism
Township officials hope hosting youth football and lacrosse tournaments in the region will be a boost for hotels and restaurants that have suffered and lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The sports fields are said to be on the land behind where a Meijer store and senior housing complex are being built. Access to the 40 acres owned by Jackson Township is at the end of Belden Greens Circle NW.
The plan shows seven full-size fields, which could also be used for lacrosse, and four smaller football fields. Three picnic shelters, a maintenance building, spaces for food trucks, hiking trails and several parking lots are part of the project.
Jackson Park sits north of the 200 acres of Tam O’Shanter that Stark Parks is developing. Footpaths will link the two parks and will continue towards the subdivision and the commercial zone.
Pickleball courts, synthetic ice rink
The money is already in the budget for the township’s other park projects.
The trustees are prepared to use $ 160,000 for the pickleball fields in North Park. Eight courts will be set up in a space along Fulton Drive NW, adjacent to new tennis courts.
The township has temporary pickleball courts marked off from the former North Park tennis courts. Administrators hope the eight fields will be attractive for potential tournaments, as well as pickleball leagues.
The synthetic ice rink would cover an 80-foot by 100-foot section of the parking lot between the new tennis courts and the North Park Amphitheater. The ice rink would be installed during the winter months, but since it is a synthetic surface, it could be used during the summer months for special events.
The administrators are considering a package from Global Synthetic Ice – a Florida company that manufactures the synthetic surface – that includes 75 pairs of skates, a skate sharpening package, a sub-floor, synthetic panels and wall panels.
The directors worked for several years on plans for an ice rink in North Park. The initial planning included the construction of a traditional ice rink. A synthetic surface is expected to last 15 years and the municipality does not have to buy additional equipment, such as a Zamboni.
If the rink proves popular, the township could purchase additional synthetic surface to expand the rink.
New Playground at Fisher Park
The playground equipment at Fisher Park is over 25 years old, which is why administrators would like to see an upgrade. The new equipment would include slides, tunnels, climbing stations and swings.
The equipment will cost $ 117,957, but a grant of $ 39,447 will offset the cost less. The township would also save money by removing existing playground equipment.