Ypsilanti hosting public input forum Thursday for parks and recreation master plan
Ypsilanti's Parks and Recreation Commission and the Planning Department are hosting a public input session Thursday regarding the city's parks and recreation master plan.
A master plan adhering to certain standards is required by the state of Michigan for the city to maintain its eligibility for many recreation-related grants such as Natural Resources Trust Fund grants and helps to provide a basis for many other grant applications.
The current master plan was adopted by city council on Feb. 19, 2008 and approved by the Department of Natural Resources on March 31, 2008. The current plan expires Dec. 31 of this year and city officials currently are completing the next five-year plan for 2013 to 2018.
The planning process helps the recreation commission, staff, and city council inventory and prioritize the parks and recreation system and helps the city to identify and engage community partners, said Assistant City Planner Bonnie Wessler.
“Every five years we have to update the master plan in order to stay eligible for certain grants and it’s also a good opportunity to revisit our goals and see where the community wants to go,” Wessler said. “It’s an update of the 2008 master plan and we’re just kind of keeping that rhythm going.”
Wessler said the department didn't accomplish all of the goals set with the last master plan but that's generally what happens because some projects take longer to complete than others.
"You never actually end up completing everything laid out," Wessler said. "We did manage to complete several of the objectives."
Wessler noted that several mechanical improvements were made to the Parkridge Center and Senior Center. With the help of other community groups, the city secured a nearly $300,000 grant to improve Rutherford Pool.
Wessler said the goal of the plan is to continue to “capture the community’s vision” in terms of how they want the city’s 16 parks to look and function. The city owns 76.6 acres of parkland. Riverside Park is the largest with 13.8 acres and home to annual events such as the upcoming Heritage Festival.
“This is a relatively small update,” Wessler said. “In real terms it takes about a year because we have to gather public input.”
In June, the city sent 22 question surveys out to different areas within the community such as Hope Clinic and the Ypsilanti Library located downtown requesting feedback from residents. Wessler said the city received feedback from individuals who live outside of the city but utilize the parks and recreational services.
Some of the questions asked residents which parks and recreational facilities they frequent most and which activities do they partake in at each of the parks.
Wessler said the findings will be discussed at the Thursday session. More than 300 people responded to the survey and Wessler said their responses were “all over the map.”
“Some people want more programming options and some want less programming,” she said. “Overall, people seem to enjoy the parks we have and want to see them continue to be maintained.”
The forum is at 7 p.m. this Thursday at the Spark East Center located at 215 W. Michigan Ave.