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Macomb Township residents raise concerns with proposed park

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published January 7, 2020

 Macomb Township resident Kim Hemme was one of seven people to address the board at a December meeting regarding a proposed park at 24 Mile and Foss roads.

Macomb Township resident Kim Hemme was one of seven people to address the board at a December meeting regarding a proposed park at 24 Mile and Foss roads.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The residents have spoken.

At the Dec. 18 Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting, some residents made their voices heard regarding Whitney Park, a proposed development at the northeast corner of 24 Mile and Foss roads.

During public comments on non-agenda items, seven residents spoke on how having a 28-acre park in that area would affect them.

In June, the board heard a presentation about the park, with possible amenities including a dog park, a splash pad, picnic pavilions for rent, a playscape and tennis courts.

Resident Kim Hemme was the first to speak. She said a couple of neighbors who live in the area where the park would be located met with officials in July after the proposal was announced.

“Based on what we’ve seen with the proposal, this has raised several fears for the surrounding area,” Hemme said. “Along the back and side of the park, the 10-foot-wide path is intended to link one park to the next, which none of the connecting parks have been developed yet.”

Once the paths are connected, they would join 8-foot-wide sidewalks along 24 Mile and Foss roads.

“There are currently no sidewalks along this stretch of road,” Hemme said. “The joining of paths create a circular trail that would only be used by park guests to track their miles when jogging, running and biking.”

Hemme said that three houses on 24 Mile Road would be inside the park, due to the circular loop.

“If the circular route remains, it should be the township’s responsibility to maintain the 8-foot-wide sidewalk, and we’ve been informed that a fence would not be provided in front of the three houses,” she said.

Hemme said she wants a fence installed to keep park occupants from trespassing in residents’ front yards.    

Dan Johnson spoke about traffic congestion that the park would create in the area.

“In the proposal, there are plans to put three of the most popular daily attractions — splash pad, dog park and pickleball courts — in one location,” he said.

He said that when the Dodge Park splash pad in Sterling Heights opened in 2018, twice as many people showed up as expected.

“There is unused township-owned real estate, from what we can see, that can take on any of these attractions, instead of having all three at Whitney Park,” Johnson said. “It would create a parking lot type of traffic situation every day.”

He suggested that the township consider moving one or two activities to a different location, to ease future traffic in the area.

“If a traffic light was to be installed at 24 and Foss, not having two driveways into the park would eliminate any possibility of drivers cutting through the park if there was a backup at the light.”

Lee Brunner lives east of Foss Road and discussed traffic volumes in the area.

“The surrounding road infrastructure is not yet made to handle the current traffic flow, let alone have a busy park here,” he said.

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