Berkley begins parks and recreation master plan process

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 21, 2020

BERKLEY — The Berkley Parks and Recreation Department has started its master plan process, and it is asking residents to provide feedback on what they want in their parks.

The department has begun to create the master plan for its parks over the next five years, from 2021 to 2025. Recently, a survey was created for residents to share their thoughts about what they think the parks in Berkley need. That survey can be found at tinyurl.com/BerkleyParksSurvey, and it will remain open until Friday, Aug. 14.

“We always ask people to say exactly what their thoughts are, even if it seems a little pie in the sky, because we want to hear, in your perfect community, what recreation looks like,” said Parks and Recreation Director Theresa McArleton. “Where you think maybe there are not amenities that you would like to see or things that we don’t offer that you would like, whether that’s a farmers market or a sand volleyball court or something like that, we want to hear that and we want to hear how many people may think those things.”

Berkley is in the first third of its planning process, McArleton said. Recently, it awarded the contract to lead the process to Carlisle | Wortman & Associates. According to the city’s website, they are facilitating a nine-month process with three phases for its master plan: vision and outreach; plan design and drafting; and final plan adoption.

So far, city staff and Carlisle | Wortman consultants have held preliminary meetings to discuss the current recreation amenities and programs. The survey results, McArleton said, will help them plan what they’re looking at in terms of capital funding and how to plan for bigger projects.

“It helps us to make that plan as we set forward to looking to fund those projects,” she said. “It’s also used when we do look to the state to apply for funding. They do require you to have an updated plan, so it’s used for that as well. It really helps to inform us.”

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chair Mike Kerby felt that one of the main things Berkley should be looking at going forward is pocket parks.

“We’re going to do some small parks on … pieces of property around the city, specifically in the northeast corner,” he said. “We don’t really have a park in that section, so that’s an important item.”

Kerby also stated that smart infrastructure in parks will be important in future updates, such as adding Wi-Fi in all parks.

“It’s coming pretty quick on us, and I think everybody’s in tune to that,” he said. “The things that we are currently doing to involve some of that technology would be great within the next few years. I think that’s one of the more important things.”

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, on Zoom, Carlisle | Wortman & Associates will host a virtual town hall to hear from the community. People can get more information on that meeting on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page at facebook.com/BerkleyParksandRec. To stay up-to-date with Berkley’s Parks and Recreation master plan process, visit berkleymich.org/recmasterplan2020.

“We, obviously as parks and recreation professionals, can know what we have, what we would like to see, but the community belongs to the people, and hearing from them and getting feedback is essential,” McArleton said. “They’re the ones that are using our fields, our courts, our parks, our community center, our senior transportation, all of that. They’re the ones that are a big part of paying for it, and we want to hear from them.”