September 17, 2014

City looking to allow for special use of industrial park for community ball fields

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — The Standish City Council will move forward with the next step in the potential construction of new community ball fields in the city’s industrial park.

The council passed a motion at its monthly meeting on Thursday, Aug. 18 to see if it is better to rezone the industrial park to make room for the fields or if the city should allow for a special use of the area, per request from the Standish Planning Commission.

The Standish-Sterling Youth Sports Organization was approached by Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Nelson about constructing the fields on the northeast side at the industrial park located on Airpark Drive in Standish.

Mayor Mark Winslow said the Standish Planning Commission met and discussed the issue and requested the city look at its options.

“To rezone the property we would have to make an amendment to the park ordinance,” he said. “Or, we could dedicate the area for special use.”

Winslow said the process of rezoning the area of land for the fields could be a longer process.

“Rezoning would be a more involved process,” he said. “While making it a special use would mean that anyone seeking a special use would still have to come through the city.”

Nelson said he just wants to see the project happen.

“I don’t care how we get it done,” he said. “I just want to see it happen.”

Nelson said he has not seen much interest from the industrial community for the decommissioned airport land.

“It’s not like anyone is knocking at our door,” he said. “We have people who want to do something, and we are looking at a project that could add $300,000 in fields and equipment.”

Nelson said he wants to see these fields in the Standish area.

“If we can get this project moving, finally, we can have something in Standish like Sterling and Pinconning have,” he said.

Earlier this month, Richard Sullivan, vice president of the Standish-Sterling Youth Sports Organization, said the fields could cost around $60,000 per field. He added that the property on Airpark Drive would be a better location than the originally planned location along Grove Road north of Standish-Sterling Central High School.

“When we looked at the property on Airpark Drive, we noticed the ground was much flatter and we would not have to excavate much in the area,” he said. “Plus, there is already a parking lot there.”

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