Leighton Twp. may be open to adding a pickleball court

10th Street from 142nd Avenue to 144th is now open to through traffic.

A lengthy discussion Thursday night about welcoming a pickleball court revealed to Leighton Township officials the need for local recreational facilities is almost as great as fixing the roads.

After hearing a presentation earlier this year from Wayland teacher-coach Brian Ballone, board members discussed possibilities of having a pickleball court installed at a section of the parking lot at the township hall and library.

At first there was great interest in putting in such a court in the grassy area to the immediate north of the township hall. However, as usual, the biggest problem was money, perhaps as much as $80,000, to pay for such a facility.

Trustee John Hooker explained the issue as “Everybody wants it, but nobody wants to pay for it.

He added that he would have misgivings about spending money on a pickleball court “while the roads are falling apart.”

However, Leighton Township firefighter Travis Masselink pointed out, “You’re not going to fix many potholes with eighty grand.”

So Planning Commissioner Steve Shoemaker suggested cordoning off a section of the existing huge parking lot and set it aside just for a couple of 30-by-60 pickleball courts, a move that would cost a minimum amount of money.

Supervisor Steve Wolbrink said the township could earmark its twice a year payments from the Gun Lake Casino to fund pickleball courts, once again minimizing the financial impact on the budget.

Eventually, Township Board members decided to table action on the matter until next month, when they will resume talks.

In other business at Thursday night’s meting, the Township Board:

• Decided to meet with members of the Library Board to try to establish agreement on the contract between the two on paying for expenses of the building they share.

“It’s been a problem since way before you guys got here,” Hooker said, noting there’s always been confusion over who owes what, particularly with utilities.

The Library Board’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, May 16.

• Agreed to increase fees for cemetery plots from $50 to $200 for residents and from $400 to $800 for non-residents.

“We’ve always had the cheapest rates (for plots in Hooker Cemetery)… I don’t know what we have for available lots because we’re land locked.”

• Noted the barriers for traffic going north on 10th Street from 142nd Avenue to 144th have been removed and the road now is open to through traffic (see photo).

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