Controlling the LandThe goal for the city is to explore the site as a home for a new recreation center and to “control” the land as development options come forward, he said.
Tennis, Anyone?While housing might be on everyone’s wish list, the one concrete plan on the table is a proposal from a nonprofit organization called The Hub, which would like to renovate the existing clubhouse and build a roughly $2.5 million racquet sports barn on a portion of the property. The Hub’s organizers were in negotiations with Citi Properties before the city stepped in to buy the land. They say obtaining a lease from the city for 10 to 15 acres around the existing clubhouse is vital to their obtaining financing. Fraser said the city would coordinate with The Hub to make sure their plans were complementary to the city’s own recreation center needs. If The Hub is granted a lease, it hopes to begin renovations this summer to the clubhouse to create a community center, which could include new locker rooms, meeting rooms, a day care facility, virtual golf, a rock-climbing wall, and a restaurant and bar, at a cost of roughly $300,000, Hub board vice president Nat Winthrop said. “We would start applying for grants and continue fundraising,” Winthrop said, adding that the group hopes to raise $500,000 in large and small donations and hopes to raise half of that in pledges and donations by mid-spring. “It’s very important for us at The Hub that we have site control and if you don’t own the land you need a long-term lease of 25 years to get loans and be eligible for federal grants.” The tennis barn could be open, ambitiously, by the fall of 2023, he said. Winthrop sees the membership-based tennis center as an attraction for families that might locate in the new housing, which would likely be five years away at least. The city council will discuss the process going forward at its April 13 meeting. “The next step is to take all the comments and look at ways to feed that back out to the community and maybe do it in a way that people can prioritize them,” Fraser said, adding that the city will look for ways to expand the number of participants. Ultimately, “we would draft a plan and say ‘here’s a conceptual plan, what do you think of that’ and build consensus from there,” he said.
UNDERWRITING SUPPORT PROVIDED BY