2016-11-24 / Views

Proposed rec center poor use of energy

Thank you, Chuck Mueller, for speaking up on behalf of those who doubt that Suttons Bay Public School can or should become the sponsoring agency for a community recreation center.

Mr. Mueller, speaking before the Board of Education at a public meeting, said what apparently many within the Suttons Bay school community have not heard or have chosen to ignore. There are doubts — strong doubts — as to whether the school district should pursue a request for up to $17.2 million to build a recreation center that would become a quasi health club.

And those concerns have basis. The Traverse City YMCA, which knows something about recreational centers after having just built a complex, has already bowed out of the project. It conducted a study that showed only 165 community members would likely sign up to use a recreational facility in Suttons Bay.

A project of the scope considered is simply not economically feasible, the “Y” determined.

Still, school officials press on. They will take their request to float a bond issue to the State Department of Education on Dec. 19. Should the State concur, an election is likely in May as the Suttons Bay Board of Education has already offered its blessings.

The school district is already intimately involved with and a crucial part of the Suttons Bay community. But if more involvement is sought, many community outreach opportunities remain available for Suttons Bay Public School beyond building and running a facility that is marginally related — at best — to its core mission.

Mr. Mueller, a retired social worker, said he personally supports the center. But he has not observed community support for the center, even among people who traditionally vote for school millages.

While Mr. Mueller called on the school community to drum up support, we ask the School Board to reconsider. Even a supportive community has only so much energy to offer, and we believe it wasteful to spend six months on such a divisive project.

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