The city of Troy owns this parcel of undeveloped land along Square Lake Road and Willow Grove Drive, west of John R Road.

The city of Troy owns this parcel of undeveloped land along Square Lake Road and Willow Grove Drive, west of John R Road.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Green Space Subcommittee to council: Develop city-owned park sites

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 5, 2019

 This small parcel of undeveloped, city-owned land is located along the south side of Square Lake Road, west of John R Road, across the street from Kensington Church.

This small parcel of undeveloped, city-owned land is located along the south side of Square Lake Road, west of John R Road, across the street from Kensington Church.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 This city-owned land, on the north side of Square Lake Road, west of John R Road, adjacent to Kensington Church, may be developed into a small neighborhood park.

This city-owned land, on the north side of Square Lake Road, west of John R Road, adjacent to Kensington Church, may be developed into a small neighborhood park.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 This parcel of city-owned land adjacent to homes along Long Lake Road, west of Rochester Road, could be developed into a pocket park under recommendation of the Green Space Subcommittee.

This parcel of city-owned land adjacent to homes along Long Lake Road, west of Rochester Road, could be developed into a pocket park under recommendation of the Green Space Subcommittee.

Photo by Deb Jacques

TROY — A resident-funded millage to maintain, enhance and develop city-owned property into passive and active parks could come before voters in the coming months.

The Green Space Subcommittee, led by Timothy McGee, presented its findings to the Troy City Council at a study session Feb. 25.

“We’re looking for general direction,” Troy City Manager Mark Miller said to the council at the study session.

As part of its report, the committee culled information on master land use plans and parks and recreation master plans from surrounding municipalities.

These included Sterling Heights, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, Shelby Township, Warren, Royal Oak, Clawson, Bloomfield Hills, Beverly Hills and Auburn Hills.

The committee asked the council to consider asking voters to approve 0.05 mill for 30 years for park enhancement.

“We felt it was a salable item,” McGee said. He added that this could replace the current millage assessed for city bonds.

According to City Assessor Nino Licari, this equates to $5.84 per year for the average Troy homeowner, based on a home with a taxable value of $116,800 (roughly half of the market value). This would raise $244,000 per year.

The committee recommended that the city complete the trails and pathways system in its entirety throughout the city, enhance Sylvan Glen Lake Park, add restrooms at all parks and develop city-owned property (pocket parks, which would be adjacent to homes).

The committee recommended that any future development of the Troy Civic Center feature recreational opportunities and facilities.

McGee said the study revealed that green, city-owned open space comprises 2,438 acres, or 11.33 percent of the total acreage in the city.

The committee recommended that the money raised from the millage should be used to maintain and develop city-owned parcels, not to acquire new parcels, McGee said.

McGee said there are 16 developed parks in the city and 11 vacant parcels that the city acquired before the economic downturn that should be developed into parks.

“If we redeveloped parks, we would need additional revenue,” Miller said. “The capital budget would have a tough time financing redevelopment of the parks.”

“It’s very important to meet with neighbors to discuss development of pocket parks,” Councilman Ethan Baker said.

“One of the strongest things we looked at were demographics,” McGee said. “Troy is getting older.”

The report cited information from the U.S. Census Bureau that states that by 2035, one in five residents will be 65 or older.

McGee noted that parks should offer passive recreation, places to “sit back,” as well as soccer fields and bike and walking paths.

Mayor Dane Slater said that the council had set aside $3 million for park development before the economic downturn, which had to be reallocated.

Slater said that he wants to assess the results of an upcoming survey of residents about priorities.

“I’m convinced that trails and pathways will be at the top,” he said. “My opinion is it should be a priority for us. I want to see what the survey has to say.”

“You have our full support,” Milan Chonich, a 40-year resident, told the council in support of developing Sylvan Glen Lake Park. He lives on Glasgow Drive, adjacent to the park. “It’s a jewel left unattended.”