Youth sports complex moves forward

Over the objections of a vocal opponent and despite concerns from a pair of its members, Three Rivers City Commission has authorized design, bidding and construction-engineering services related to a proposed youth sports complex.
Tuesday’s action allocates more than $300,000 to Kalamazoo-based Virdis Design Group.
The decision came after resident Kathy Bingaman questioned whether it was premature to act on the matter while two critical issues – a court case related to Three Rivers annexing the 77-acre property from Lockport Township and a ruling from the head of the Michigan Boundary Commission – remain outstanding.
Bingaman accused commissioners of gambling with taxpayer dollars, as the city would probably forfeit some of the $323,295 if the annexation is voided or the boundary commission rules against it.
She reminded the commission that the $2.8 million pledged by the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners toward the $4.1 million project will not be dispersed until after the court case related to the annexation and the boundary commission’s decision are resolved.
Mayor Tom Lowry said the $323,295 will come from the city’s general fund and remain the city’s financial risk until it receives reimbursement from the county.
Another development related to the plan unfolded when commissioner Carolyn McNary back-peddled on her support for the project. She said moving forward without the county’s monetary pledge in hand may not be the most prudent course of action at the moment.
McNary said she has no doubt the 17-field complex would be a welcome and highly popular addition to the community. She reiterated, however, that giving up in excess of $300,000 right now is too big of a risk.
In the end, the motion passed, 5-2. McNary and Commissioner Norm Stutesman cast the dissenting votes.

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One comment

  1. Thank you Commissioners McNary and Stutesman. At least there are 2 thinking individuals on the commission.

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