Public invited to give feedback on parks plans

Elizabeth Park, pocket parks to be focus

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published December 6, 2023

File photo by Patricia O'Blenes


ROCHESTER — Residents of Rochester can weigh in on the latest parks and recreation master plan during an upcoming public hearing.

The hearing will be held during a regularly scheduled Rochester City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rochester City Hall, 400 Sixth St.

The city’s current parks and recreation master plan — which provided a vision for the city’s parks and recreation facilities, operations, maintenance and enhancements from 2019 to 2023 — expires this month.

Rochester City Manager Nik Banda said the city updated its parks and recreation master plan to help shape goals, objectives and potential projects for the next five years.

The new plan, city officials said, will serve as a playbook for community building as it relates to parks and recreation over the next five years and will be instrumental in helping the city secure potential recreation grant funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other agencies and foundations.

“The parks and rec master plan is a really important way for us to engage our residents — and even the nonresidents that utilize the park in Rochester — and get a pulse on what they want to see and what they would like to see different in the parks and give us feedback of how they think we’re doing with the parks,” said Rochester Planning and Zoning Administrator Jeremy Peckens.

The city hired McKenna & Associates — the firm that provided the last parks and recreation master plan — to handle the task at a fee of $15,500.

Throughout the process, the community was invited to share input via an online survey, a public engagement workshop and stakeholder feedback session over the summer, a presentation of a draft report to the Planning Commission in September, a vote on the revised plan in October, and a 30-day public review period.

“We did get some good feedback while we were working on the parks and rec master plan,” said Peckens. “I think we had about 244 people respond to our online survey and about 44 people come to our in-person engagement at Elizabeth Park.”

By attending the public hearing, Peckens said, people will have the opportunity for their comments to be put on record in the City Council minutes.

“Public hearings are really important because they allow those people to be put on record saying what they would like to see or just talking about the plan in general,” Peckens said.

The public hearing before the City Council is required for the city to qualify for state and federal grants.

“We’re getting great community involvement — comments are still coming back — so the final step will be to have the public hearing on Dec. 11,” City Manager Nik Banda explained. “That will allow us to take that information, if we get new information at that meeting, meld it into the plan and still get it to the state in time to meet our Feb. 1 deadline.”

This time around, the plan update largely focuses on Elizabeth Park, which is located on Elizabeth Street, north of Second Street, across from the Royal Park Hotel. The park currently features a pocket of open space with benches.

The plan also includes the pocket parks within the downtown, which were not in the last plan, and it will highlight the many organizations the city partners with on parks and recreation projects — including the City Beautiful Committee, the Tree Committee, the Paint Creek Trail Association, the Clinton River Watershed Council, The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and others — in the hopes of being able to secure more grants, among other things.

A copy of the plan revision is available on the city’s website at For more information, call the city of Rochester (248) 651-5165.