Paul Preston, city manager of Mt. Pleasant, suggested to a group of ice rink enthusiasts who were tired of maintaining the outside rink at Jameson Park, to pursue the Urban Cooperation Act of 1976. The Act would permit the creation of a new government unit, consisting of two or more government entities, which would facilitate both the construction and operation of a community recreation facility.
The Cultural and Recreation Commission of Isabella County was officially formed. It is commonly referred to as the CRC. The CRC is comprised of six local units of government; Isabella County, Chippewa Township, Union Township, the City of Mt. Pleasant, Central Michigan University and the Mt. Pleasant Public School District. The newly formed entity then set out to create the first indoor ice arena in Mt. Pleasant.
Construction was underway for the formation of the Isabella County Events (I.C.E.) Arena. Through a generous donation of property by Bob and Sue Martin, favorable pricing by local contractors, as well as insurmountable community support, the monumental venture was complete. To ensure that the day-to-day operations were managed appropriately, the CRC established a non-profit corporation by the name of Smooth Surfaces. The CRC leased the new facility to Smooth Surfaces with the agreement that Smooth Surfaces would provide effective oversight, maintain operational costs, manage debt, and turn all remaining profit, if any, over to the CRC.
The CRC was approached by a group of local community members who wanted to pursue the development of a multi-court athletic facility to be built next to the I.C.E. Arena. After much discussion, the CRC agreed to the venture and another non-profit corporation, the Central Sports Recreation Center (CSRC) was established. A group known as the “MC 11” was charged with the monumental task to raise the necessary funds for the proposed project. It was estimated that the 100,000 square foot facility would cost $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. Through the generous support of The Morey Foundation, the MC 11 secured and guaranteed the remainder of the funds and the construction of Morey Courts Recreation Center was underway.
Through hard work and persistence, Morey Courts opened its doors to the community. The facility features; eight basketball/volleyball courts, two of which are a multi-purpose flooring allowing for indoor tennis, three racquetball courts, premier fitness center, including a separate room for fitness classes, locker rooms and a deli. Once again, under the leadership of the CRC, the project was an overwhelming success, secured by community supporters, and completed without the use of public funds.
In an effort to maximize the efficiency of the operation, and promote the image of the Isabella Community Sportsplex, it was decided that it was appropriate to have the same nine individuals be appointed to both the Smooth Surfaces Board and the Central Sports and Recreation Center Board. The finances of each entity continue to be managed separately
The Isabella Community Sportsplex was offered a unique opportunity to partner with McLaren Central Michigan and take over ownership and the management of McLaren Fitness. This partnership enabled members and guests of Morey Courts to use either facility at no additional charge.
Every dollar spent by residents, businesses and donors is an investment in the partnership between the Sportsplex and the community. Together this facility is creating recreational opportunities for the area forever. If you would like to contribute to the Isabella Community Sportsplex, click here.