POLL: Pleased with Swim Club Plan?
The lease to buy arrangement for the club will wipe out township debt on the property and bring year-round sports, including hockey. Do you like the vision?
So, the Middletown Swim and Tennis Club is no longer under water.
It will stay afloat with the help of its new prospective owner, the NJ Junior Titans ice hockey non-profit group, which take over the management reins and run the club as is this summer — no change in rates or schedules.
Principal of the Titans, George Haviland, is also a Middletown man. He knows the community and its wants and needs just as he knows sports, officials and residents boasted.
Haviland plans to convert the 8.9-acre property into more than a swim club — more like primarily a swim and skate club. Once the Titans owns it, it will, in fact, become Ice World Middletown.
According to officials, Haviland’s group is talking about not only adding an ice rink, for hockey and just plain skating, but for other indoor sports and, perhaps, heated and/or indoor pools.
The ideas and knowing Haviland was at the helm, pleased club members beyond expectation.
Yes, assured Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante, the club will still focus on swimming, despite the pending name change and ice hockey tie-in with the group’s name and focus.
Residents who spoke at last night’s Township Committee meeting, when the plans were announced, raved about the save and proposed revision of the site.
Officials said the whole arrangement “exceeded all expectations.”
The lease with an option to buy deal will cure any and all debt the township has on the club. The only drawback, “if you could call it that,” said Mayor Tony Fiore to a resident last night, is that the lease/purchase will not provide any tax relief/reduction.
If the township wanted to sell the property for any purpose that accommodates current zoning restrictions, the property may sell for a lot more than the $1.37 million will realize with the sale and cure its debt.
But leaving out the deed restriction for recreational use only would put taxpayers in the position of perhaps fighting an unwanted commercial development on the site. It’s what happened when the township originally opted to buy the club from a private owner in 1997 — it was a means of staving off a Home Depot on the site.
So, the township will be swim club debt-free and the club and other recreation will be hosted on the site year-round.
So, do you like the plan? Let us know in the poll below. If you have anything to add or any other suggestions for the Titans, tell us about them in the comment box.