2017-10-12 / Front Page

Input sought in long-term parks & rec planning

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – Do you have a wish list for changes you’d like to see in Swartz Creek’s parks?

If so, you’ll have the chance to share your visions with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board next month.

The park board will unveil a proposed 10-year park plan at a public hearing Wednesday, Nov. 1.

The city must have a park plan to be eligible to receive grants such as the Department of Natural Resources’ Trust Fund and Recreation Passport grants, and the Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program grants.

Two big park improvement plans already on the park board’s radar are a non-motorized trail connecting to the regional trail system, and upgrades to make Bicentennial Park more user-friendly.

“That little area has a lot more potential as a downtown pocket park than it’s living up to right now,” City Manager Adam Zettel said of Bicentennial Park. “It’s a nice little greenspace right in downtown.”

Preliminary planning is underway for a trail system that will extend the Genesee Valley Trail from its terminus at Norko Drive and Dye Road in Flint Township, to Elms Park and, eventually, Winshall Park.

The trail extension has been identified as a top priority for county and state recreation leaders.

In addition, a recent online survey showed that a non-motorized trail system was the #1 priority for most of the 92 people who completed the questionnaire.

Additional plans include replacing cottonwood trees at Winshall Park with less messy varieties, upgrading restrooms, establishing a regular maintenance plan, and partnering with other entities such as the Swartz Creek Community Schools, Downtown Development Authority and Genesee County Parks and Recreation, to acquire and develop more park property.

A dog park is still on the boards as an Eagle Scout project for two local Boy Scouts, the disc golf course proposed for Winshall Park is on hold until the bulk of the Winchester Village street work is complete, and a splash pad is still under consideration.

Ninety-five percent of the people who responded to the park survey said they believe parks add to the quality of life, as well as the economy, of a community.

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