2023 is set to be a record-breaking year for Morey Courts

“We are in a position to essentially serve our purpose in ways that we never have before in the history of Morey Courts,” says Amy Bunting, Morey Courts Recreation Center’s facility director.

Amy Bunting, Morey Courts Recreation Center’s facility director. (Photo: Courtney Jerome/Epicenter)Morey Courts opened to the public in October 2008, and from day one has served the Mt. Pleasant and surrounding communities with their fitness needs – from athletic courts to group exercise classes. But 2023 is a big year for the non-profit corporation. 

“We have opened the scope of what we're capable of doing within these walls,” shares Bunting. “And it has a lot to do with what we can do for our hometown folks and what we can do for our statewide and regional folks. And so in Morey Courts, what you'll find is that there is a multi-generational fitness opportunity.”

Traditionally known for their basketball, volleyball, racquetball and pickleball courts, fitness center, and walking track, there have been updates to their offerings recently. Morey Courts now extends 39 group classes to their members, and they’ve added 13 new pieces of equipment to their fitness center. 

New recreational opportunities will be offered to the community in the near future as well for climbers and pickleball players.

This includes the implementation of a rock wall in one of their racquetball rooms, set to be completed by early March. 

Since marking lines for pickleball courts in 2019, Morey Courts has recognized the sport’s growing popularity. They plan on hosting their very first pickleball tournament in April, and will continue to offer pickleball play for the community. 

(Photo courtesy of Absalon Johnson/AJOptics)“It's kind of developed – just like the industry itself has developed – and much like Morey Courts is multigenerational, so is pickleball,” Bunting explains. “And so we only have a certain number of beautiful available hours a day that we can dedicate to dropping-in for things like that, because we also do have a huge lineup for our partnering court-sport events.”

Some of these partnerships include organizations such as Mt. Pleasant Parks and Recreation, Mid Michigan College Athletics, AAU entities, several clubs, homeschool organizations, youth leagues, and hosting Mt. Pleasant High School and Sacred Heart Academy athletic groups when they seek supplemental space. 

“What you're looking at is a spectrum of preschoolers, all the way up to adults, achieving their athletic goals – from developmental to elite athletics, right here,” says Bunting about the facility at Morey Courts.

“We have a ton of community partners that aren't very publicized because they are kind of niche,” she continues. “But they're all thrown in here at once. Our weekends are crazy.”

And what about forecasting weekends in 2023? 

(Photo courtesy of Absalon Johnson/AJOptics)“They're going to be awesome!” Bunting exclaims.

In fact, in 2023, almost 40 of the 52 weekends have already been planned. 

From basketball, pickleball, gymnastic and volleyball tournaments, to two Gus Mackers, to a home builder’s showcase, craft show, family fun weekends, golf outing, and blood drives, 2023 will be nothing short of diverse and community-oriented. 

“When I first started, we didn't have anything at all on the weekends – if at all anything, we had a couple basketball events,” shares Bunting, reflecting back on when she first joined the team at Morey Courts as facility director in June 2018. After gathering her bearings in 2019, she encountered the challenges of the pandemic in 2020 – Morey Courts was shut down for 211 days and was limited throughout the recovery period.

“I'm very proud to say that because of how we operate, and how we've traditionally always operated with the amount of space we have, how we utilize it, and how we have always kept things primarily sanitary, we never had a super-spreader event,” she shares. “We re-learned how to be relevant in a time and space where we are not a recession-proof or a pandemic-proof industry.”

After Morey Courts re-opened in October 2020, from their 2021 to 2022 fiscal year, they hosted about 20 weekend events. This fiscal year, they have almost 40 weekends planned – doubling their events year over year. 

(Photo courtesy of Absalon Johnson/AJOptics)“I've got new partnerships, I've got new ideas, and we've got some of the same things coming,” Bunting shares.

“We have a lot of offerings,” she continues. “One of the things I'm most proud of is that in 2022, our economic impact was close to probably $1.5 million for the City of Mt. Pleasant, because of what we brought in. And so, with 20 events that happened that year, bringing even more this year, and until I have 52 weekends sold, my job's not done.”

“When we can get to the point where people recognize Morey Courts as a space that they can achieve their business goals, or their interpersonal goals, their community goals, their wellness goals – this place is an anomaly. There's really nothing else like it.” 

“And so, my big vision – my big exciting thing – is that there’s no cap on excellence, right?” she shares with excitement. “So we're not there. But we are seeing our potential more to fruition than we ever had before in our 14-and-a-half years of life here at Morey Courts. It's very exciting!”
“We want to be achievable and attainable and accessible to the community that's really socioeconomically diverse, but we still have to pay the bills and are obviously in an inflation time. So it's very, very, very tricky. The cost of operating something like this is so high, that we are achieving sustainability, and anything that’s supplemental to that goes directly back into what can benefit our patrons – whether it's our members or our guests.” - Amy Bunting
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Read more articles by Courtney Jerome.

With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — courtneyjeromemedia.com. Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at editor@epicentermtpleasant.com.