The Chesterfield Township Board has postponed its decision to sign a lease with the Anchor Bay School District to take over part of Sugarbush Elementary School.
The board voted 4-2 at its April 20 regular meeting to defer a decision until its May 24 session. Administrator Brian DeMuynck and Kersten opposed the postponement. Clerk Cindy Berry was absent.
The proposal presented to the board was to enter into a lease agreement for 27,194 square feet of space at Sugarbush Elementary with the intention of using the space for the first parks and recreation center.
Sugarbush was closed before the start of the 2021–22 school year, moving students to Dean A. Naldrett Elementary School.
The annual rental price would be $73,967. Additional custody, insurance and liability costs, estimated at $53,572, would bring the base cost to $127,539. The money would come from the canton’s general fund.
“We have simply outgrown our current buildings. Activities are at maximum capacity in the Senior Center single room most hours of the day, often spilling out into hallways and meeting rooms,” Amanda Bowers, director of recreation services, wrote in a recommendation to council. “We owe it to the residents to create a unique space with a positive atmosphere, which creates a culture of wellness and promotes inclusivity.”
Kersten said the township youth center at 46000 Sugarbush Road is “not currently usable” and “not accessible” as an option for a park and recreation center.
The supervisor said the township pays “about $30,000” for upkeep and upkeep of the youth center.
Kersten also said he would seek to purchase the building within a year of signing the lease to make it a permanent location for a parks and recreation department. But he encountered resistance to the proposal.
“It’s a great idea, if we don’t spend money like drunken sailors,” administrator Hank Anderson said.
In part of her recommendation to the board, Chief Financial Officer Vicki Bauer noted, “Program revenue must include additional maintenance costs and may become priced beyond interest” and is “an additional expense of funds beyond what is calculated for the budget in 2022.”
Trustee David Joseph, who introduced the postponement motion, said he was seeking insight into the cost of programming and revenue-neutral fund adjustment options before the May meeting.