The playground at Civic Center Park in Southfield features a sign asking residents for feedback for the new five-year Parks and Recreation master plan. Surveys are currently available online and at select locations.

The playground at Civic Center Park in Southfield features a sign asking residents for feedback for the new five-year Parks and Recreation master plan. Surveys are currently available online and at select locations.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield seeks residents’ input for new parks and rec plan

By: Andy Kozlowski | Southfield Sun | Published October 27, 2021

 A view of the nature trail at Civic Center Park.

A view of the nature trail at Civic Center Park.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Civic Center Park features the Miracle League of Michigan ballfield.

Civic Center Park features the Miracle League of Michigan ballfield.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — The city of Southfield is currently developing a new five-year master plan for parks and recreation, and residents’ input is sought.

The resulting document will guide the development of the city’s park amenities and trails over the next half decade, as well as recreational programming. There are several opportunities to share feedback on what features you would like to see.

One way is to participate in the Community Open Houses scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28 at the Southfield Pavilion, located at 26000 Evergreen Road.

But those who are unable to attend can also share their input by taking the online community survey at www.publicinput.com/MySouthfieldParks.

Copies of the survey can also be picked up at the Parks and Recreation office, located at the municipal campus — also at 26000 Evergreen Road — or at the Beech Woods Recreation Center, located at 22200 Beech Road.

The feedback collected will help shape the master plan, which city officials say will outline goals and serve as a starting point for engineering studies, cost analysis and engaging the public to determine the financial feasibility of projects — in other words, how they will be funded, and to what degree taxpayers would be involved.

The new plan will also be developed in accordance with guidelines from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, following standards outlined in the state’s Community Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Plans guidelines. A five-year parks and recreation master plan that receives MDNR approval will be eligible for MDNR-administered grants — a huge boon to any city.

Terry Fields, the director of the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department, said in an email that feedback is sought from all stakeholders in the city.

“The master plan process enables residents, businesses, staff, faith-based organizations, community organizations, civic leaders, youth, and families to have conversations, to voice your wishes and ideas, to create and imagine what you’d like to see from your Parks and Recreation Department — and to help create that roadmap for the next five years,” Fields said.

The previous master plan for parks and recreation also spanned a five-year period: 2017-21. Priorities there ranged from providing affordable experiences to improving the accessibility of the city’s parks and facilities. Many of the objectives were also made possible with grants from the MDNR.

Officials say this included the expanded picnic patio area at Beech Woods, which added benches, tables and an accessibility ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other ADA-compliant updates included new doors at the Parks and Recreation building and the Southfield Sports Arena, as well as a walkway to the ballfields at Inglenook Park. A new shade structure, fencing and backstops were also added to the ballfields at Inglenook, along with additional grading work to improve water retention. And over at Pebble Creek Park, grants paid for a new play structure that features a rubberized mat around the base.

Several large-scale capital improvements were completed during the last five years at some of the city’s flagship facilities and parks. The Beech Woods Recreation Center underwent a complete $2.5 million renovation, which included new gym flooring, redesigned locker rooms, renovations to the fitness center and offices, a new elevator and flooring, and wayfinding signage, along with the replacement and redesign of the parking lot.

Other capital improvement projects completed as part of the last plan included the addition of LED lighting at Freeway Park, new golf carts for the Evergreen Hills Golf Course, and other improvements throughout the park system. The Parks and Recreation Department itself also updated its technology with new registration software, the expansion of online registration, and a new software system for the Southfield Cemetery that assists with record keeping at the historical site.

In terms of what residents may ask for in the new plan, officials say that over the years there have been varying levels of interest in amenities that would be new to the city, such as a splash pad, an indoor pool and a dog park — but, ultimately, the feedback received now will shape the parks’ future.

“This department is passionate about parks and experiences that the community wants,” said Russell Malburg, Southfield’s recreation operations manager, in an email. “The master plan process is the most significant opportunity for residents to let us know what those things are that they’re passionate about. It’s where they’re able to share their opinions, their interests and their ‘wish list’ for what they’d like to see. Using this feedback ensures that our department is on a path that has been paved by our residents.”

Added Fields: “Parks and Recreation is all about experiences. Whether you’re actively participating in a program like yoga, attending a music festival with your friends or family, or taking a walk in the park — it’s an experience. We want to know how we can enhance your experiences.”

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