Cities, board members look at recreation plan

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 23, 2013

EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — The city councils from Roseville and Eastpointe, and the recreation board, which comprises city officials and residents from both cities, are working on the final draft of a master recreation plan for the authority.

The plan outlines administrative set-up, building improvements, park improvements and future goals for the authority.

“When the two recreation departments merged, the authority had to develop a new recreation plan — their two individual recreation plans, basically, had to become one — to allow both cities to become eligible for recreational funding through state grants,” said Chris McLeod, a planning consultant from Community Planning and Management, who worked with recreation authority Director Tony Lipinski on drafting the new plan.

“It outlines administrative functions, as well as physical improvements: most specifically, improvements to the recreation center in Roseville, which serves as the headquarters for the authority,” McLeod said, adding that building improvements are focused on fixing foundation issues, expanding the size of one of the multi-purpose/basketball rooms and adding classroom space.

“This is the first go-around on a two-community master recreation plan, and it will be reviewed by the board before it is adopted,” McLeod said. “We designed it to include the type of improvements both cities would like to see in both of their parks.”

But parks are one of the gray areas of moving forward with the plan. The authority owns two buildings — each city’s previous recreation center — but the cities maintain ownership of the parks.

“The quality of the master plan is positive, but it’s a little more typical of a city’s master recreation plan, and we are not that, exactly,” said Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane, who sits as vice chair on the authority board.

“We own the buildings and contract with the cities for use of the parks, but when we go to get a grant, they ask of us to own the land. Park planning and development is both simple and complicated, and there really isn’t any sort of precedent or case history on how to proceed.”

Both councils will have a chance to review the plan and make suggestions before the board votes on it, possibly in February.

A tentative study session date scheduled for Feb. 12 was not able to be confirmed at press time. Duchane said the city will post information on the study session as soon as it is available and urged residents to read the plan — available on both cities’ websites and at the Clerk’s Office in Roseville — and share their thoughts on it.

“It’s a plan for two communities, and residents should have their say,” Duchane said. “There are things in there that are quite specific: expansions of parking lots, fixing Eastpointe’s Memorial Park, building issues and expansions. Council and residents should read and comment on it before the board votes on it; if not, it’s like reviewing a master plan for your house without having any say in it.”

Lipinski said he is working on applying for grants and other cost-saving measures to cover or lessen the cost of many of the improvements mentioned in the plan.

“One of the things we are trying to do is submit a grant to improve the ball diamond at Eastpointe Memorial (Park),” Lipinski said.

“If a grant won’t cover it, if I can get whatever ball diamond material Roseville is going to purchase piggy-backed with whatever Eastpointe is going to purchase, piggy-backed with whatever Roseville Community Schools are going to purchase, we will all get a much better rate.”

Rosevillle held a public hearing on the plan at the Jan. 8 regular meeting. No one showed up to speak on it. Council offered very little commentary on it during the meeting.

The Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe Master Plan is available online at Authority.aspx. The next recreation authority board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 14. Meetings are held at the rec center, located at 18185 Sycamore in Roseville.