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Author Topic: Sale of the Crystal Township Community Center  (Read 1151 times)
Posts: 13

« on: January 11, 2020, 12:36:06 AM »

As many of you know, this past summer the Township Board created a committee to explore what to do with the township offices/community center.  They also hired a consulting/engineering/design firm to develop options for the community center and to lead a series of public meetings to gather community input on what to do with the center.  The prevalent opinion of the community was to preserve the gymnasium and in some form downsize and rehab the office portion of the building.  Sale of the property was one option considered and was rejected by the community by a large margin.

After completion of the series of public meetings the Board-created committee then sent out a survey to all persons on the township tax rolls in an attempt to get a broader consensus on what the community wanted to see done with the community center.  They received a response from 20% of the surveys sent out, which is a very good response rate in the world of surveys.  Again, the clear message from the community was to retain the community center in its present location.

Fast forward to the December 2019 Township board meeting: Supervisor Curt McCracken reported that he had been approached by someone with interests in the marijuana business to purchase the community center property for a substantial sum of money - enough to build new, smaller township offices without asking for a millage.  Disregarding community input clearly indicating a desire to retain the community center, and even though the township board did not pursue or consider other expressions of interest to purchase the center during the public hearing process, the Board decided at that meeting to advertise the various parcels making up the community center property for sale.  No investigation, no due diligence, no bid document, just throw an ad in the newspaper. 

It has now come to light that the money behind the offer to purchase is for a marijuana processing plant.  At the January 2020 board meeting bids were opened.  The marijuana group has bid $1.25 million for the property to put a marijuana processing facility in the downtown business district, across the street from the public park.  The meeting was packed with community members, most of whom expressed vehement opposition to the sale of this property for use as a marijuana processing plant.  Concerns ranged from the noxious odors generated from processing to loss of the center and all related parking (which will affect nearby churches and business, particularly the movie theater.  The largest concern expressed was not opposition to marijuana processing, but rather whether this was appropriate location for a marijuana processing plant, given its proximity to the business district, the park, and the lake.   

I personally am not opposed to the business concept, but like others I am concerned that the community center property is not a proper location for this type of business.  I fear that it will negatively impact the resort feel of the community, hurt the business of the movie theater, and potentially harm property values and the resort business that local establishments rely on to remain viable.  It is is also a total rejection of the expressed desire of the community to retain the community center at its current location.

The Board tabled any action on the bids received until its February meeting.  It should be noted that other bids were submitted by two churches and the owners of the movie theater for all or certain parcels of the property (although the Board intended to accept bids for all parcels as one single sales package,  the poorly crafted advertisement for bids listed each parcel for sale separately and did not specify that all parcels were being sold as a unit, so some entities bid on individual parcels in reliance on the stated wording of the ad) but it is clear that there is only one bid the Board is seriously entertaining.

If you have an opinion on the whether or not the township board should sell the community center to a group intent on putting in a marijuana processing plant, I would urge you to make your opinion known to the members of the board.  Their emails are: Supervisor Curt McCracken: supervisor@crystalmi.com, Clerk Patty Baker-Marek: clerk@crystalmi.com, Treasurer Nancy Mills: treasurer@crystalmi.com, Trustee George Bahm: gtrustee@crystalmi.com, and Trustee Sherry Kutt: strustee@crystalmi.com.  I would also appreciate it if you would also simply post to this thread that you contacted the board in favor of the sale or in opposition to the sale.  No judgement here on your opinion, I would simply like to get a count of the people expressing their opinion as information to take to the February board meeting.
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