The use of proposed recreational fields is creating a stir in Hamburg Township.

The township board is scheduled to meet tonight and on the agenda are a proposed park use policy and a proposed joint-use agreement with Pinckney Community Schools for soccer programming at Manly Bennett West Soccer Fields. Pinckney Superintendent Rick Todd sent out an email stating the district has received many requests from parents and community members for a community based soccer program, to provide children a quality experience at a reasonable cost without having to drive all the way out to Green Oak Township or Brighton areas. Todd says the sole intent is to create a soccer program in the Pinckney/Hamburg area that can thrive and provide an experience that is competitive and fun. The email also addresses what Todd referred to as “negative and inaccurate” information being shared on social media and a “Next Door” app. A post from H.E.R.O volunteers stated they are in jeopardy of losing use of the soccer fields for the laser light and fireworks shows during the Hamburg Family Fun Fest, as the proposed agreement would give the district priority rights. The post encourages people to attend the board meeting and stand up for their rights to use the park or the festival “may be no more”.

Todd says they have received numerous emails, text messages and phone calls from concerned community members so he thought it would be effective to address the claims up front. He says they are being offered the opportunity to use a handful of fields to begin re-establishing a community-based soccer program – nothing more and nothing less. Todd said he was both saddened and disappointed that some are looking to create a sense of divisiveness, especially by sharing false information to get community members upset. Clerk Mike Dolan tells WHMI for over a year now Hamburg has publicly discussed changing recreation operating policies to streamline and improve youth sports activities. He says any concerns regarding the festival or the Vietnam "Moving Wall" memorial being affected are factually unfounded, noting those dates are already blacked out and saved for those events. Dolan added Hamburg Township's concern is for youth to have the best possible experience and it’s all about the kids - period.

The complete email from Todd, the letter from H.E.R.O. and statement from Dolan are attached. Tonight’s meeting starts at 7pm at the Hamburg Township Hall on Merrill Road. (JM)