Beverly Hills emphasizes accessibility in recreation plan

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 19, 2022

 Beverly Hills recently updated their five-year community recreation plan.

Beverly Hills recently updated their five-year community recreation plan.

Photo provided by Beverly Hills


BEVERLY HILLS — The Beverly Hills Parks and Recreation Board and village administrators have adopted an update to the five-year community recreation plan for 2023-2028.

The village has worked on these updates for the last several months and has collected community input, including through a survey for residents to complete over the summer.

They received a total of 609 responses, 567 of which were from residents of Beverly Hills and 42 from nonresidents. These nonresident responses show the Parks and Recreation Board that people outside of Beverly Hills are using the parks system.

“We got a lot of feedback from residents about how they utilize parks and recreation right now and what kind of changes they would like to see to our facilities,” Beverly Hills Village Clerk and Assistant Village Manager Kristin Rutkowski said.

The plan is a guideline for the upcoming years, as well as an overview of the village parks and their amenities.

The village must have a current five-year recreation plan on file with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in order to be eligible for grants. The previous plan was for 2018-2023.

One of the updates to the plan includes the inclusion of Beverly Green, a park that was added earlier this year. They also updated each park’s amenities for anything added in the last five years.

Greg Ross was one of the Parks and Recreation Board members who sat on the plan subcommittee.

“We are looking at improving and making better use of new spaces, such as Beverly Green,” Ross said. “We are really trying to make best use of the funds that the village allocated and trying to make sure we have better green spaces and park spaces for everybody.”

Through the survey, they found that accessibility in the parks was something many people cared about; therefore, that is now one of the main goals of the plan.

In the recreational inventory portion of the plan there are accessibility assessments of each park in accordance with MDNR standards.

The parks were rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with the latter being the most accessible.

The highest-rated park in Beverly Hills based on accessibility was Beverly Park, at level 3, meaning “Most of the facilities/park areas meet accessibility guidelines,” according to the plan.

Hidden Rivers Nature Preserve and the Douglas Evans Nature Preserve tied for the lowest-rated parks for accessibility, with each at level 1, meaning, “None of the facilities/park areas meet accessibility guidelines.”

One of the objectives of the plan is to analyze and improve universal accessibility at all recreation areas in Beverly Hills.

Other goals of the plan include pursuing acquisition of additional recreational space and improving the biodiversity of the parks.

“It was extremely helpful and extremely important to get feedback from the public. We encouraged it through every step of the way,” Rutkowski said. “We really wanted to get feedback from people who are actually out there utilizing the parks.”

Rutkowski added that since voters passed a park millage in 2020, they wanted to make sure that their voices were heard and that the funding that they approved is going towards things that they would like to see in the parks.