The voted unanimously last night to approve a bid to begin construction on the sometime this spring.
The project will include a 64-acre park for soccer, football and lacrosse off of M-59 near Pleasant Valley Road. The board hopes the park will be ready by summer of 2013.
The construction will be done by Fenton-based company . The board also approved HRC Services to do oversight of the construction and McKenna Services to oversee landscape services.
The board addressed several concerns from residents during Tuesday night’s board meeting regarding the project, including drainage, chemicals used for field maintainence, lighting, noise levels and parking.
The biggest concern for many residents, however, seemed to be the financial burden building the sports complex of eleven fields for soccer, football and lacrosse may have on the township.
Supervisor Bill Fountain explained that not only did the township have a positive cash flow of $350,000 in its general fund, but also that the park project has been in the planning stages for many years and money has been designated for the project during that time. The Captiol Improvement Fund, which is currently around 2.2 million dollars, according to Fountain, is what will be paying for the project.
“There’s no loan being taken out for this,” Fountain said during the meeting. “This has been a long-term planning process … we’re not spending money that we don’t have.”
Fountain also explained that there would be no lighting on the fields and that the complex would be used during the daytime hours only. The tree line and high elevation of the fields would also reduce the noise levels for residents surrounding the park, as well as the 30 acres in between the fields and other properties.
“I can’t imagine there’s going to be an issue with that distance,” Fountain said. “That is a 64-acre parcel and the fields themselves entertain about 30 acres, so there’s still 30 acres of property behind there that are going to be left as natural as it is, perhaps with walking trails down the road.”
The care and maintenance of the fields will be maintained by area youth sports programs such as Hartland Area Youth Athletic Association and Hartland Community Soccer which had representatives present during last nights meeting to show their support and commitment to the fields.
Bryan Fraser from the Hartland Soccer Board addressed concerns during the public hearing regarding the use of harmful chemicals on the fields that could potentially be leaked into the water systems.
“We’re probably more conscious than a lot of farmers are even, because our kids are on them,” Fraser said adding that the chemicals they use are similar to what the schools use on their fields.
There will be no bleacher seating in the complex and 180 parking spots will be available with the potential to add 80 more, if needed.
Building the park is needed, according to Joe Petrucci, who addressed the crowd, explaining that Hartland is running out of room to provide space for its young athletes.
“What is happening out there with our youth programs is that they are turning away kids because we don’t have the facilities for them to play on,” Petrucci said. “Shame on us, we need to do that. We need to provide that for them.
“Parks also bring an economic benefit to the community as well,” he said. “Parks and recreation areas are economic engines for improving the quality of life and making communities more livable and desirable for businesses and homeowners. It’s a true benefit.”