The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department is asking for public feedback about what residents would like to see from their parks and community programs in the next five years.

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department is asking for public feedback about what residents would like to see from their parks and community programs in the next five years.

Photo provided by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department

Oakland Parks and Rec asking for public input for five-year plan

By: Brendan Losinski | C&G Newspapers | Published December 7, 2022


OAKLAND COUNTY — The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department is asking residents to make their voices heard and share what they would like to see from their local parks and community activities.

The department’s five-year recreation plan draft is now online and open for public comment.

The plan sets the course of the park system over the next five years, and stakeholder input helps Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department leaders shape the goals and objectives for parks and programs.

“This is a process we do every five years,” said Melissa Prowse, the department’s manager of planning and development. “What we are hoping for is people to read through the plan, look at our revised goals and objectives for the next five years, as well as look through the park action plans for any parks that they might have a particular interest in where they may want to provide some input.”

Department members said that public feedback is crucial for forming a plan that works for the community and fulfills the wishes of residents.

“The survey opened in mid-November, and we have been receiving great feedback so far,” Supervisor of Planning and Resource Development Donna Folland said. “People are passionate about their local parks, and we know how much Oakland County residents rely on their parks for fitness, mental well-being, relaxation and personal recreation. The recreation plan outlines the values and goals that will guide us as a public park system to provide quality, equitable experiences for all.”

Public comment is due by Tuesday, Dec. 20.

The draft is designed around four core values that the department wants to ensure are followed through with in the final plan. The first is diversity, equity and inclusion. The department wishes to evaluate all actions and decisions through the lens of equity and justice and provide parks and recreation services that feel safe and welcoming to everyone. The second is health and wellness; or ensuring access to spaces and experiences that promote physical, mental and social health. The third is environmental sustainability and natural resources stewardship. This means caring for the natural environment, preserving land and open space for future generations, and meeting current recreation needs without compromising the future and building community resilience to climate change. The final core tenet is fiscal responsibility and organizational excellence. This means implementing the department’s mission with a robust, innovative and diverse parks and recreation organization while grounding decisions in sound fiscal policy.

“The four core values in the rec plan have always been, in some shape or form, part of our organization, but we’ve never codified it,” said Prowse. “We thought this was the right time to put it officially in the plan to demonstrate that this is what we value and this is the lens that we will view our plans (through) going forward.”

The four values were what the draft was designed around, but Prowse said they need to hear from residents before deciding what the department’s focus will be for the next five years.

“Health and wellness is especially important post-pandemic,” she said. “We want people to be able to get out and get active. Environmental advocacy and fiscal responsibility are always important as well.”

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation staff stressed the importance of that public feedback.

“This is the county residents’ plan. We put it together as a staff and commission, but we want it to reflect the needs and wants of all residents of Oakland County,” said Prowse. “This could be them wanting a new playground or amenity. This could be a new program they would like us to offer. They might have ways we could improve our services or customer service. We want to know what they think about our parks and recreation system.”

Those interested in contributing their perspectives can do so by completing the online survey at They also can call the department at (248) 736-9087 or email them at Print copies of the survey and comment cards are available at the Oakland County Parks and Recreation office, located at 2800 Watkins Lake Road in Waterford.

In addition to the public comment period, interested people are invited to attend a public hearing for the recreation plan that will be held as part of the Oakland County Parks Commission’s monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, also located at 2800 Watkins Lake Road in Waterford.

“We’ll have a public hearing on Jan. 4 where people can directly share their feedback,” said Prowse. “Hopefully, the plan will be approved afterward at that meeting, so the plan can then be submitted to the Michigan (Department of Natural Resources). … This will shape what the next five years will look like for parks and recreation in Oakland County.”