Niles Charter Township board approves bid for South Fireman’s Park pickleball project

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

NILES TOWNSHIP— New and improved pickleball courts will soon be on the way to South Fireman’s Park. 

The Niles Charter Township Board of Trustees moved Monday to accept a $121,920 bid from Floor Care Concepts of Wyoming, Michigan for the South Fireman’s Park pickleball project.

The project calls for the excavation and removal of the six damaged courts and the installation of brand-new courts with new nets and surfaces.

The Township will use a portion of its $1.4 million American Rescue Plan Act monies to fund the removal and replacement of the pickleball courts, while trustee members said local pickleball clubs have raised roughly $15,000 to pay for ancillary items for the space.

The six-year-old courts have received routine repairs each year, but due to harsh weather conditions, the courts have developed numerous cracks despite frequent use from pickleball players and park attendees. Pickleball is a recreational paddle ball sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Niles Charter Township Park Board Chairperson Jill DeLucia collected quotes from two contractors and decided to pursue Floor Care Concepts because it cost less and the synthetic court material was considered to be more durable and easier on the joints than asphalt.

DeLucia said the contractor would like to begin construction in late June and that court installation would take two to three weeks depending on the weather.

Once completed, DeLucia hopes the new courts will draw tournaments and enthusiasts alike to the city.

“The goal is to offer a surface that people want to come play on,” she said. “There is enough capacity here to have some tournaments. Leagues and associations have had tournaments and social events here in the past. The hope is that now we’ll once again have those kinds of gatherings again.”

In other business:

  • The board voted 4-2 to approve changes to its 2022 road agreement with the Berrien County Road Department for the county’s Local Road Matching Fund Program. The change to the agreement is an increase in matching funds from $171,233 to $180,000.
    The program will allocate $1,500,000 in funds to all 22 townships in Berrien County based on road mileage and population, consistent with the distribution formula used by the Michigan Department of Transportation to allocate local road funds to the 83 counties in Michigan. To receive local road matching funds, Niles Charter Township must match the funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The source of the township’s matching funds may be from its general fund, road millage, property owners’ special assessment contributions, or unique private/public contributions.
    The Road Department shall supervise and direct road projects and shall be solely responsible for all aspects of road projects. Niles Charter Township will not be responsible for any project cost overruns unless Township attributes to a change in scope or additional pay items not included in the bid.
  •  The board moved to approve a bid for Norman Properties to take on the township’s park improvements project. The project, which will cost approximately $12,390, will consist of landscaping and parking lot improvements for five township parks: Fulkerson, North Fireman’s, South Fireman’s, Samson and Community.
  •  The board approved the purchase of a 32-horsepower John Deer diesel tractor for $45,975. The tractor, with necessary attachments, will be a multi-use machine capable of mowing, blowing and sweeping township property. The tractor will be purchased using ARPA funds.