Hammergerg bequest could fix Clare Courts

August 9, 2019

Clare’s deteriorating tennis courts make it difficult for players and need renovation.

By Pat Maurer

If it is approved by the Clare City Commission and the Clare Foundation, the tennis courts in the Clare tennis courts will receive a much needed upgrade with some of the Hammerberg bequest funds.

Monday, the Commission unanimously approved the proposed list of projects developed by the Dr. Kuno Hammerberg Family Endowment Fund Committee.

Clare’s tennis courts are number two on the list.
The four remaining usable tennis courts are in terrible condition, Clare Tennis League member John Urquhart told the Commissioners Monday. Many of the league members were on hand to support renovations to the facility, which is on Clare School property.

Urquhart reported that there has been “a big surge in people wanting to play tennis. We have 44 doubles teams this year.” He said a coaching program, “Shaping the Future of Tennis,” is interested in a course in Clare. “It’s a unique situation,” he said, “a free program and one of only five in the state.”

He added that the ages of those using the courts ranged from youngsters to older adults. “It’s a great carryover that is actually for kids and adults,” noting that 100 Clare students coached by Kelly Luplow have used the courts.

The group is asking for $40,000 for the project.
Clare City received an $180,000 check from the estate of Dr. Kuno Hammerberg last May.

The bequest from Dr. Kuno Hammerberg, $179,939.20 was augmented with funds from his son Eric to increase the gift to $180,000.

Eric wrote that his father, wished to have the money “contribute to the enjoyment of the citizens of Clare. It is my understanding,” he continued, “that he was referring to recreational…activities.”

The City had received word late last year about the bequest.
The check was transferred to the Clare Community Foundation who serves as fiduciary of the bequest and a list of the City needs was developed to use up to $175,000 of the funds.

The Endowment Fund Committee includes City Commission Member Gus Murphy as chair; Joy Simmer, Jennifer Dancer, Carol Santini, Diane Lyon, Cliff Eppert, Kelly Torres Spicer, Nick Wyman, and Cate Walter; and ad hoc member John Urquhart.

Together the committee developed a list of recommended uses for the funds, which was submitted to the City Commission Monday evening.
Including the tennis courts, the prioritized list of projects, totaling $154,260, includes:

  1. Clare Rail Trail Gap $10,000
  2. Clare Public Schools Tennis Courts $40,000
  3. Emerald Isle Recreation Complex-selected projects are highlighted $59,000
  4. Depot Benches $ 950
  5. Music Licensing $ 3,360
  6. Park Grills $ 950
  7. Art Alley $5,000
  8. Gateway Park $35,000

  9. Except for the renovation of the tennis courts all of the bequests would be “matching funds.”
    City Manager Ken Hibl said he would meet with Clare School Superintendent Jim Walter about “leasing the courts.” He said that could be required by the Clare Foundation to use the bequest funds for tennis court renovations. The City would have the maintenance responsibilities for the life of the courts and the City would have to “get three bids” for the renovations from the Clare Tennis League.

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