Skylar Miklus, Emme D’Errico and Ella D’Errico, all of Farmington Hills, skate it up at the Riley Park Ice Rink during a past event.

Skylar Miklus, Emme D’Errico and Ella D’Errico, all of Farmington Hills, skate it up at the Riley Park Ice Rink during a past event.

File photo by Donna Agusti

Farmington residents prefer youth athletics, wildlife protection in new rec plan

Regulation-size hockey rink noted in plan

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Farmington Press | Published December 20, 2018


FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington wants to hear your ideas on the future for its 2019 recreation master plan.

The plan, now available for public review, is available at City Hall, 23600 Liberty St., and at

A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 during a Planning Commission meeting to hear public comments on the plan, according to the city’s website.

The plan is available for a 30-day public review period that began Dec. 16 and ends on the day of the Planning Commission meeting.

The plan review includes input from residents and community members who frequent the parks. In responses to questions about the importance of park events, many park-goers expressed what is vital to them, some naming athletics for children and organized leagues as major components.

People also expressed an interest in more classes aimed to educate the community about protecting the local environment and habitats.

The plan was last revised in 2016. It helps guide future improvements and the development of parks, recreational facilities and programming that impact Farmington residents and visitors, according to the city’s website.

The state requires such plans to be updated every five years.

To be eligible to apply for grants through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a community must have an approved five-year recreation plan on file that meets the eligibility requirements of the Natural Resources Trust Fund Act, according to the city’s website.

Kevin Christiansen, the city’s director of economic and community development, is one of several main staff members involved in updating the recreation master plan, along with the city manager and the assistant city manager.

“Based on the DNR review, they had wanted some adjustment, minor items, updated and administrative items addressed as well,” he said. “In light of their request, there have been some adjustments of the five-year action plan,” he said, adding that the City Council will act on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the minor amendments and revisions. “If they support … that updated plan, it will go back to the MDNR. It is not anything that is a complete revamp.”

Farmington has six park facilities: George F. Riley Park, Memorial Park, Shiawassee Park, Drake Park, Women’s Park and Flander’s Park, all classified as either miniparks, neighborhood parks, school parks or community parks.

Riley Park and its Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion is a 0.85-acre minipark. The year-round park is also home to the Riley Park Ice Rink.

Melissa Andrade, the assistant to the city manager for the city of Farmington and the chair of the Riley Park Ice Rink Committee, has helped bring the ice rink to where it is today after it opened in 2014. The late local philanthropist George Riley donated $100,000 to open up the rink.

The rink, which is maintained regularly through general funds from the city, is also what makes Riley Park a year-round destination.

The rink draws crowds that congregate near heat lamps under the pavillion or who brave the cold and wind to skate.

Public input in the recreation master plan included an idea to move the ice rink to Shiawassee Park and open it up to regulation size.

The city-owned rink— smaller than the 85-by-200-foot standard size — draws a lot of support, however, Andrade said. Some people try to play hockey on the rink, but because of the rink’s proximity to vehicles, that’s not allowed; the pucks could cause some damage.

“Many people do want it regulation size because they want to play hockey, and I realize that — we can’t allow hockey on the rink,” she said. The rink’s current location brings “unique charm” to the downton during winter months. “When it is dark and gray and dead they have the skaters, their coffee, and they walk to restaurants and warm up.”

She said she sometimes sees people even in the winter just having a bite to eat because in the enclosed pavilion.

The ice rink, which was scheduled to be open for business, is an attraction Andrade hopes gets more press.

“My hopes are that more people become aware and use it,” she said. She hopes to start a skate rental operation there too.

Currently, the ice rink has an honor system in which people can borrow ice skates.

The Ice Rink Committee’s “Harry Potter and the Holiday Skate” event will be held 6-8 p.m. Jan 29. Admission costs $5 per wizard. The event will feature non-alcoholic butterbeer and “all kinds of fun Harry Potter things,” Andrade said.

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