Clinton Township forms recreation master plan

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 13, 2013


CLINTON TOWNSHIP —When it comes to recreational developments Clinton Township residents would like to see most, an indoor pool and a splash park top the list, according to an online survey.

But in these financially lean times for local governments, those types of developments might be a long shot. Still, Township Recreation Director Linda Walter said it’s something the township will work toward finding funding for in the long-term.

“The funding is the challenging part of it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep it in the plan,” she said. “It will take a very long time. I wish it was easy.”

Other top priorities included walking and biking paths, wooded nature areas and an outdoor pool.

In the meantime, lower-ranked — and less expensive priorities — could happen sooner, Walter said.

The priorities were weaned from an online survey, which was open to the public in October and November. More than 100 township residents participated.

While only a small fraction of township residents volunteered to take the survey, Walter said the results revealed that priorities were generally on track with where they were when the last five-year plan was adopted in 2007.

“That means we were probably in the same ballpark,” Walter said. “I think we can confidently say these are people’s priorities.”

The survey results were then used as a starting point for a citizens advisory committee, comprised of local residents volunteering their time. Committee members also garnered public input on their own before working to put together the plan, Walter said.

“This is a very important plan because, without it in place, … we cannot apply for any grants for the parks and rec program,” said Township Supervisor Robert Cannon at a Feb. 4 public hearing on the master plan.

The Clinton Township Board of Trustees will vote on a resolution to approve the plan at a later meeting.

The recreation plan also needed to be updated to include amenities that didn’t exist in the township in 2007. For instance, the Tomlinson Arboretum and George George Memorial Park were not in existence then.

In light of the economic downturn that came a year later, Walter said the township has had to be innovative about how it has found funding for recreational programs and developments. A lot of it was done with community help and support from businesses, which, in the future, will help put the township in a good light when it applies for grants, she said.

When asked what types of recreational programs and activities they would like to see added in Clinton Township, more than half of the 100-plus survey participants selected “adult programs.”

Tammy Patton, a township resident and member of the citizens advisory committee, said the township has plenty of activities for younger and older age groups, but is in need of more things for adults in between.

“You don’t have anything for me,” said Patton, 42. “There is nothing for my age group, or my son’s age group — the 18-year-olds and up. … I want you to give me something that I can enjoy.”

Patton also suggested a millage might be in order to build a township-owned recreational facility, like the one in Macomb Township.

However, a 1-mill increase tied to such a facility failed under a 2002 public vote.

Patton also was a member of the citizens advisory committee that developed the plan in 2007, she said.

“I got to see a lot of things come to light that we worked on (then). I think they’re wonderful, but we still got work to do,” she said. “We need to invest back into our families. We need to invest in our population.”