The local recreation authority may bring to voters as early as next November a millage to build such a complex.
“Hopefully, at our Dec. 5 (board) meeting, we’ll decide what is it we’re going after, and how much,” NORA Coordinator Jill Vander Stel said.
NORA is looking at a possible 100- to 120-acre site that has yet to be purchased. This could house a future facility.
The authority has run preliminary numbers for the project. Based on a community taxable value of about $2 billion, a 0.25-mill levy could bring in $511,671 in one year, $2.5 million over five years and $5.1 million over 10 years. For a home with a taxable value of $100,000, such a levy would cost a homeowner $25 a year.
Vander Stel said a recreation complex could have outdoor sports fields and a fitness trail, indoor courts, a fitness room, and locker rooms. A new facility would address the organization’s problem of limited space, she said.
“We’ve gone to parent organizations and met with all of them,” Vander Stel said. “It all points to limited space and facilities.”
NORA’s annual operations budget of a little more than $300,000 only provides enough for operational expenses, staffing and programming. There’s not enough for major facility expenses.
The authority represents the northwest corner of Ottawa County within the Grand Haven Area Public Schools boundaries. It includes Grand Haven city and township, Robinson Township, and Ferrysburg.
Annually, the authority provides more than 100 different programs that serve more than 8,700 people. Programs are for both children and adults.
User fees, donations and sponsorships total about $200,000 and support nearly 70 percent of the authority’s budget. Local governments support the rest at just over 30 percent, or about $105,000.
While the authority has access to local school facilities, they aren’t given first priority.
“Right now, the schools get top priority with all of the facilities," said NORA board member Mike Fritz. "We try and fill in the gaps when there is no one there. They don’t always have the availability at the times we need them.”
The facility issue can rear its head during summer tournament time.
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