Parks and Recreation Commission gives Water Street rec center negotiations more time
Washtenaw County Commissioner Rolland Sizemore Jr is eager to move a proposed eastern Washtenaw recreation center to Ypsilanti Township if the city doesn’t quickly accept the proposal, but the Parks and Recreation Commission has put the brakes on his suggestion.
Sizemore said he urged commissioners at a recent meeting to consider an Ypsilanti Township location, but he said he understands that commissioners still want to give the city more time.
“I think we need to give it some more time,” Sizemore said. “They got a lot of issues in the city with their budget, but I don’t want to wait too long. If we let the momentum slow on this, we might not get it going again.”
There was no resolution or vote on the issue.
City staff and Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission director Bob Tetens are scheduled to meet again on Friday to discuss the recreation center. The main sticking points so far have been its size and its location on Water Street.
The commission is proposing a $10 million to $15 million development occupying up to 12 acres on Water Street’s northwest corner. But city council members have said they want to see a smaller center and would prefer it be located on the south or east side of the Water Street property.
The center wouldn’t contribute to the city’s tax rolls, and council members are concerned because the Ypsilanti is facing $31 million in Water Street debt and will make annual payments that will grow to $1.3 million through 2031.
City Planner Teresa Gillotti said Tetens told council in an October presentation that he would like to see a decision made by January, so she didn’t feel like the negotiations or decision-making process was off schedule.
“We feel that we’re on track as far as getting to a point to move forward by January,” Gillotti said.
Sizemore requested a meeting with township officials to discuss building the rec center there at their regular Dec. 6 board meeting. Officials said they were interested in discussing the idea with Sizemore if the proposal didn’t work out in the city.
Sizemore suggested the center go on 13 acres of property that used to be an armory near I-94 and Ford Lake.