The Sparta Recreation Authority and How It Works

Sparta Recreation AuthorityWhat exactly is SARA/SRA?
SARA- is the Sparta Area Recreation Association. SARA is a nonprofit 501c3 organization who consists of representatives of the area youth sports organizations including Little League, Youth Soccer (FC Ridge), Rocket Cheerleading, Youth Rugby, and Youth Football. SARA’s primary purpose is to serve as a fundraising arm for the development and construction of a youth recreation facility. Their goal is to create a centralized facility that will improve existing facilities with amenities such as ADA Accessibility for wheelchairs, strollers, etc., restroom facilities, concession stand, and improved and expanded playing fields for baseball/softball, rugby, soccer, football, and other recreation amenities such as paved pedestrian trails and nature trails, and more.

SRA is the Sparta Recreation Authority. The SRA is a quasi-governmental entity that was formed jointly between the Village of Sparta, Sparta Township, and by the non-profit fundraising youth sports organization SARA. The SRA was charged with constructing and managing a sports park that meets the needs of the growing youth sports organizations and provides recreation opportunities for everyone in the community. The SRA board is comprised of elected officials and appointed members serving on behalf of each municipality and organization.

The Village of Sparta and Sparta Township have worked together to form the Sparta Recreation Authority (SRA). The SRA is an authority that consists of 3 Township representatives, 3 Village representatives, and 3 representatives of the Sparta Area Recreation Association (SARA). The SARA organization is a 501c3 that is the fundraising arm of the SRA. SARA consists of the youth sports organizations in Sparta (Cheerleading, Rugby, Youth Football, FC Ridge (Soccer), and Little League).

The SRA is planning the construction of a Sports Complex in the northwest corner of the Village of Sparta on a 88acre parcel. The Sports Complex has several baseball fields, rugby/football/soccer multi use fields, nature walking trails and paved walking trails, concession and restroom facility, and practice space as part of the first phase of construction.

To visit the SARA web page Click Here

Minutes, Documents, Links
Sparta Recreation Authority

How Is the SRA Project Funded?

In 2012, a millage was asked of the voters to increase property taxes on every property within the Township to go to the new park. The voters responded with 2095 votes (54.79%) of No and 1729 votes (45.21%) of Yes. The millage failed in its request to increase property taxes, so SARA and SRA agreed the need of the park was still abundant and it undertook a private Capital Campaign through corporate, private, and foundation requests to raise the funds to construct the park, without an increase of taxes for its construction.

As of today the SARA has been raising capital funds for construction of a sports complex through generous benefactors of corporations, foundations, grant applications, private gifts and in kind services. The campaign has been pledged over $1.91 million dollars and has a goal set of $2.2 million dollars by the end of the year. SARA has an agreement in place to donate all funds raised to the SRA for the construction and development of a sports complex.

SRA Board Membership

Sparta Township Appointments
Rob Steffens (Chair) - Sparta Township Board Member
Rachel Shangle - Sparta Township Board Member
Kevin Pinckney - Sparta Township Citizen

Village of Sparta Appointments
Betty VanPatten - Sparta Village Council Member
Carrie Cowdrey - Sparta Village Citizen
Robert Whalen - Sparta Village Council Member

SARA Appointments
Greg Peak - SARA Representative
Troy Guerrera - Football Representative


The SRA Board meets the first Thursday of every month at 7 PM. The meetings are held in basement of the Township Hall, which is located at 160 E. Division St. Sparta, MI 49345.