Clinton Township trustees skeptical of recreation plan

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published January 24, 2023


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A 2023-2027 recreation master plan was brought before the Clinton Township Board of Trustees on Jan. 9, but few in attendance seemed happy with the results.

Assembled by Spicer Group Inc., the recreation plan provides an overview of recreational developments to happen in the next four years. The adoption of a recreation plan allows the township to apply for grants from agencies like the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The approximately 200-page plan was subject to a public hearing, during which many criticisms of the plan were made.

Sam Bushell, a Clinton Township resident and frequent public commenter, expressed his concerns about insufficient focus on southwest Clinton Township recreation.

“Going north (from 15 Mile Road between Hayes Road and Groesbeck Highway), there’s no way to take a sidewalk to any of the bike trails or anything,” Bushell said. “You can’t get to anything right now.”

Trustee Julie Matuzak, who said she read the full plan, had several problems with it. She said the community outreach amounted to only around 1,400 residents responding to a survey, most of whom were seniors.

Matuzak complimented the plan’s overview of recreation resources within the community but said she wished to see a more comprehensive overview and a possible partnership with existing recreation programs and groups in the township, rather than building new facilities or creating new programs.

“We have schools all over the place,” Matuzak said. “We have health centers all over the place, which have programming. We have other churches all over the place. The library is talking about renovating and expanding particularly the south branch; are we talking with them about making sure that, when they expand, that they include some space that could be used for not specifically library activities but other recreation activities?”

Matuzak said the township needed to better use its recreation money to maintain existing parks, increase its partnerships with other recreation providers in the township and possibly create a new plan with input from a wider swath of township residents.

“I think the township has wonderful parks and recreation services,” Matuzak said. “I think all the activities that we do are great; I just want to make sure everybody in the township has access to wonderful programs.”

Trustee Mike Keys was dissatisfied with the rushed state of the plan, as well as its lack of analysis of park conditions.

“When I look at this proposal and I see an inventory of what is in our parks and I see two baseball diamonds at Prince Drewry Park,” Keys said. “To me as a member of the public, that means I can pick up my bat and my glove and go play, and that’s not the truth. That’s not what the condition of the park is in, and that’s just one example.”

Keys would like to see park quality details in a future plan rather than only an inventory of the park system.

The board voted to extend the public comment period and postpone a vote on the plan to the Jan. 30 meeting.


Police purchases
On Jan. 9, the board also approved the Clinton Township Police Department’s request to purchase another drone, including accessories and training, at a cost of $22,000.

The drone is being purchased using funds originally intended for new throw phones. The more capable drones will replace throw phones and handle other tasks where a mobile, remote viewpoint is beneficial. This drone will be the department’s sixth, according to Officer Joseph Biggers.

The board also approved the purchase of special response team rifles for $15,707.72 from AZ Arms Inc., based in Shelby Township. AZ Arms had the second-lowest bid, but it was determined that a local weapons provider would offer better customer support than an Arizona-based dealer.