park commission, Bowers Harbor, Bowers Harbor Park
Bowers Harbor Park | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Back in February, I reported that a venture was underway to build eight new pickleball courts at Bowers Harbor Park. Read more about that here. And in May, I posted about a fundraiser for the project, hosted by the newly-formed Bowers Harbor Pickleball Committee.

Things were moving along until this summer, when the Committee and Peninsula Township reached an impasse and talks stalled due to the proposed location of the new pickleball courts. Because the new courts would be built on the site of the existing basketball courts, the Township asked the Committee to also fund efforts to build new basketball courts.

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Because of philosophical and legal reasons, the Pickleball Committee could not comply with this request. Part of it is because any funds raised would need to be used specifically for the pickleball courts.

In Mid-October, however, conversations between the Committee and the Township resumed, and a potentially agreeable solution has been proposed. Recognizing the infrequent simultaneous use of the existing tennis and basketball courts, the combined group proposed modifying one of the tennis courts to accommodate basketball play.

Specifically, one tennis court could be enhanced with basketball lines and hoops. This shared-use concept would offer a cost-effective method of remediating the aged basketball courts, while also maximizing green space preservation within the park.

The Township Parks Committee is in the process of updating its five-year strategic plan, and will soon be seeking input from the public. Stay tuned for upcoming in-person and online opportunities for that, where you can voice your thoughts on new pickleball courts. In the meantime, the Pickleball Committee will continue to meet with the Township to discuss project management and construction of the new courts.

To date, the Pickleball Committee has raised more than $180,000 (50 percent of its goal), and of that, $16,000 has already been deployed on engineering for the new courts. The group is also actively pursuing several sources of grant funds.

In a press release, the Pickleball Committee notes, “We are incredibly optimistic about the newly resumed conversations with the Township and the prospects of new courts in 2023. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!”

Contact the Bowers Harbor Pickleball Committee by emailing [email protected], or by calling Dawn Hemming, (231) 883-7396.

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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