The Macomb Township Parks and Recreation five-year master plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees, lays out goals and objectives for the department with resident input.

The Macomb Township Parks and Recreation five-year master plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees, lays out goals and objectives for the department with resident input.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Parks master plan gets approved with proposals for more trails, parks

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published December 25, 2017

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved a new five-year Parks and Recreation master plan at the Dec. 20 meeting, setting goals and objectives for the department to work towards with community input.

In October, the Parks and Recreation Department posted a 10-question survey on the department’s website, asking residents how they have used the current parks, what amenities they would like to see in future parks and about parks and recreation events.

The township received about 500 responses to the survey, and while much of it didn’t surprise Recreation Director Sal DiCaro and actually lined up with objectives of the department, there were some eye-opening responses.

Residents want more activities to take place at parks in the future, as some of the top responses included bringing in a farmers market, putting on more concerts and hosting more special events.

“More special events surprised me, as we have 16 special events each year, so over one a month,” DiCaro said. “I think we really are satisfying that need, but I guess it is something we need to look in to.”

As far as a farmers market goes, DiCaro said much of the community is still farmland, unlike other metro Detroit cities and townships, so there is access to fresh produce in a lot of places. But again, DiCaro said if that is something residents want, they will explore it.

Supervisor Janet Dunn said the farmers market response also surprised her as she sees several vegetable stands along roads in the community.

However, one of the most requested improvements included access to parks via sidewalks and bringing in more trails for residents, something DiCaro and Dunn said the township is always working on.

“With more paths and trails, we are definitely working on that,” Dunn said. “I am glad it got approved and now we can go after public grants.”

DiCaro said the department has to put together a five-year master plan to be eligible for state funding each year. With the resident input collected and the board approving the plan, it will now be submitted to the state.

A project has to be laid out in the master plan to be eligible for funding, so the department also took time to develop items they want to focus on over the next five years.

In the master plan, it calls for land acquisition for three new parks to go along with the current parks — Macomb Corners Park on 25 Mile Road and Waldenburg Park on 21 Mile Road. There is also the Recreation Center just south of 25 Mile Road off Broughton Road, which DiCaro said was a result of public input that led to a millage to build it.

DiCaro said two plots of land the township already owns — one off 24 Mile Road and the other off 21 Mile Road — would be great as parks, while the third is still to be determined.

“Both of our parks are doing really well and booming, but we are growing and it would be nice to have much more space,” DiCaro said. “Right now we have to determine things we want to do and what space would be best suited for all of it.”

A dog park has been a big request for some years and DiCaro said the property off 21 Mile Road behind the fire station was originally earmarked for that project. However, DiCaro said the township got some resistance from residents on that project there, so they are keeping their options open.

“We have a lot of dog owners and I think it is important to have because for some people that is their recreation,” he said. “If you look and compare to other parks, a dog park is not that expensive to put in and you don’t need a huge parcel of land to develop it.”

Other amenities, such as splash pads, were requested by residents, and DiCaro said he sees a splash pad being developed in the “near future.” But, a big focus will be connecting residents to parks via sidewalks and bringing in more trails.

Besides the sidewalks, the master plan calls for a 2-mile county connector trail to be developed in 2019.

“We obviously have two beautiful parks right now, but quite frankly, people in the neighborhood can’t walk to them and that is a huge thing,” DiCaro said. “The township has a good workable plan to make that a possibility and I think we are getting pretty close to attaching everything.”

For more information on the master plan, visit www.gomtpr.org.