Vote Yes for Athletic Complex

By Carlin Smith, President, Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce

The blue signs are everywhere saying, “It’s Time.”  I have to agree.  It’s time for the Community Athletic Complex at Petoskey Schools.  It is time for this next phase of growth for our schools.  It’s time to retire an outdated athletic complex.  It’s time to take advantage of some retiring debt to make this affordable for taxpayers.  It’s time to improve safety and bring all of our athletic facilities onto the school campus.

           Voters on Nov. 4 will determine the fate of a bond issue on behalf of the Public Schools of Petoskey.  They are asking for .50 mills for ten years to fund a $10 million Community Athletic Complex on the campus of Petoskey High School and Petoskey Middle School.  The project includes a new football/soccer stadium, track, additional parking, road improvements, expanded locker facilities, a cross-country ski and running path, and improvements to existing sports facilities.  They say the project will benefit athletes, band members, parents, and the community at large who will have access to these facilities.

            We like it.  The Board of Directors of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce has endorsed this bond proposal and encourages a ‘yes’ vote.  While chambers of commerce don’t readily endorse tax increases on businesses, they see this request as one that will bring great returns to the community at a cost that’s very reasonable.  The timing is very good because .25 mills will be falling off of the tax rolls at the time this new tax would be implemented.  Therefore the net tax increase is only .25 mills, a bargain for a $10 million project.

            Some of the project’s benefits noted by the chamber of commerce include the addition of a new community showpiece.  Petoskey has a reputation as a community with a first-class image.  This is portrayed in our parks, our hospital, our library, our downtown, our arts center, our college, and many other entities.  However, Curtis Field does not portray that first-class image we are seeking, and for some, this might be the only impression they have of Petoskey. 

            The chamber often works with families looking to re-locate to the Petoskey area and our schools are a major part of their decision.  We’re fortunate that we can showcase a strong academic program, abundant extra-curricular activities, and generally first-class facilities.  This new athletic complex will add even more allure to families considering a move to Petoskey. 

            This new facility is expected to be a draw for tournament play in sports and possibly a site for band competitions or exhibitions.  The chamber knows from soccer tournaments and other community events that attracting tournament games and special events provides a boost for area businesses.

            We applaud the Public Schools of Petoskey for scaling back the project from what they proposed in 2007.  The proposal then was for a $15 million project, and the chamber endorsed it at the time.  However the leadership at the schools listened to the concerns of tax payers and found a more economical solution that still provides an attractive and functional complex.

            The timing is right for this latest request and the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce hopes voters agree and will vote yes for our next community showpiece


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