The Sparta Recreation Park and Sports Complex
will be the premier complex in the area. 

    There can be absolutely no doubt that physical exercise is good for the body as well as the mind. Study after study has demonstrated tangible links between regular exercise and the reduction of major illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.  Organized sports provided the added bonus of teaching life skills. Although we often think about these skills in connection with youth, the fact is that no one is too old to become a team player! Everyone benefits from learning discipline, cooperation, perseverance, and from making new friends.

    Sparta is in the process of transforming itself from a purely farming community to a community of choice: a place where people choose to move, and they choose to stay. The Recreational Park & Sports Complex will be a pivotal asset that will attract residents, create opportunities for better health, and drive economic development.  The township has purchased the property, it’s in an ideal location adjacent to downtown, and the residents have come together to build an inclusive plan that includes something for everyone. In a very practical sense, the “perfect storm” has come together to bring the Recreational Park & Sports Complex to life.


Parks & Recreation Planning

The Village and the Township governments are required to create and submit an official Parks & Recreation Master Plan every five years to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  This is a series of tasks and planning exercises that include surveys, public forums, reviewing current park assets and infrastructures, and creating a plan with goals for the community.  The elected officials formally adopt those goals from the Recreation plan and it is used as a document to help lead decisions made on behalf of the community. 

 

What exactly is SRA/ SARA?

 

SARA- is the Sparta Area Recreation Association. SARA is a nonprofit 501c3 organization who consists of representatives of the area youth sports organizations including Little League, Youth Soccer (FC Ridge), Rocket Cheerleading, Youth Rugby, and Youth Football.  SARA’s primary purpose is to serve as a fundraising arm for the development and construction of a youth recreation facility.  Their goal is to create a centralized facility that will improve existing facilities with amenities such as ADA Accessibility for wheelchairs, strollers, etc., restroom facilities, concession stand, and improved and expanded playing fields for baseball/softball, rugby, soccer, football, and other recreation amenities such as paved pedestrian trails and nature trails, and more. 

 

SRA- Is the Sparta Recreation Authority.  The SRA is a quasi-governmental entity that was formed jointly between the Village of Sparta, Sparta Township, and by the non-profit fundraising youth sports organization SARA.  The SRA was charged with constructing and managing a sports park that meets the needs of the growing youth sports organizations and provides recreation opportunities for everyone in the community.  The SRA board is comprised of elected officials and appointed members serving on behalf of each municipality and organization. 

 

How it works right now:

SARA has been raising capital funds for construction of a sports complex through generous benefactors of corporations, foundations, grant applications, private gifts and in kind services.  The campaign has been pledged over $1.91 million dollars (as of January 1, 2016) and has a goal set of $2.2 million dollars by the end of the year.  SARA has an agreement in place to donate all funds raised to the SRA for the construction and development of a sports complex.

 

Why do we need new fields?

With the removal of practice fields (Central Elem. Field and Holy Family Field), and poor conditions of fields in current locations (Buth Field in flood zone), 1st and 2nd grade kids are practicing from 7-8 pm at night, have to get home, clean up, eat, and wind down for bed on a school night.  Field sports such as rugby, football, and soccer are growing and sometimes compete for practice space and end up in areas not constructed for that type of play which has ended in injury to some players. 

Some of the current field locations (Buth, Nash, Lamoreaux) are built on places that were unsuitable for other development due to flooding, an old “dumping grounds” where foundry slate unearths itself each year, or have minimal parking abilities for the people who watch the games.  These existing facilities do not have ADA wheelchair accessible parking or access points.  Athletes with disabilities struggle to play on our existing 40 + year old facilities.    

Construction estimates have been gathered to look at upgrading the existing fields to address the issues for parking, ADA accessibility, and even adding an additional field on the current Nash field (the former foundry dumping ground). Those improvements would be costly, they would not include restroom or concession facilities or create a centralized location that will allow parents of multisport children to watch multiple games or practices happening at the same time. 

 

 

The millage failed, didn’t it?

In 2012, a millage was asked of the voters to increase property taxes on every property within the Township to go to the new park.  The voters responded with 2095 votes (54.79%) of No and 1729 votes (45.21%) of Yes.  The millage failed in its request to increase property taxes, so SARA and SRA agreed the need of the park was still abundant and it undertook a private Capital Campaign through corporate, private, and foundation requests to raise the funds to construct the park, without an increase of taxes for its construction.

 



The "Hub":
The"Hub" is the social center of the entier park. Along with the concession stand and main bathrooms, the "Hub" master plan includes eventually adding a veterans memorial pocket park, childrens playground, a picnic pavillion, potential basketball courts that convert into a winter community ice rink, horseshoes, shuffleboard and bocce ball.
Sports Complex Amenities 
(when fully completed):
(4) 200' (1) 275' (1) 300' (3) 100' Baseball & Softball Fields
2 Football/Soccer/ Rugby Fields 
6 Multi-Sized practice fields
  
Recreational Park Amenities
(when fully completed):
Concessions & bathroom facility
Playground Area
Paved trail for walking & biking
(Handicapped accessible)
Over 2 miles of nature trails throughout the park
Picnic Areas 

Other Potential Amenities
An off-leash fenced Dog Park
18-Hole Frisbee Golf Course
Winter Community Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Winter Community Sledding Hill
Shuffle Board, Bocce Ball & Horseshoes
Endless Possibilities...