The idea for a new community center in Oceola Township is being explored by the Board of Trustees and the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority.

HAPRA Executive Director Tim Church said that when the Oceola Township Board saw the assessment for improvements to the existing community center, they asked him to begin looking in to the option of a new one. At Thursday’s meeting of the Board he brought examples and estimates to be looked over by officials. Church said he believes there is a need for a new center to serve the community. He said he believes it would be not only a draw for families, but also be a service to seniors in the community.

In discussion, he said they could go from the very simple with the minimum basketball and volleyball court size, up to the large with multiple courts, office space, and an oft-requested walking track. Multiple courts would allow for tournaments to be held which would generate extra revenue.

Clerk Jamie Clay and Treasurer LuAnn Pless thought that office space would be very valuable come election cycles. Trustee Lance Schumacher, though, wondered where they would find the money for such a project, with estimates being shared anywhere between $2-million and $4.5-million. Trustee Robert Henshaw was concerned about what a large building would do to the view neighbors had. Church said the best spot for a new building would be on the location of the current one.

Despite their concerns, officials were willing to continue exploring options, and several showed interest at being one of the 3 allowed to attend a meeting with HAPRA this week as they continue to hash out logistics. (MK)