Parks and Recreation Meeting has Good Attendance

Last night's Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission had good attendance. Many residents expressed their views on a possible dog park /equestrian facility / playscape / community garden being planned by a 13 member citizen committee lead by Commissioner Anne Marie Rogers for about 30 of the 170 acres at Watershed Ridge Park (Lake George and Buell).
Although these park recreational improvements are only possibilities and the Commission made it clear they are not yet approved, a committee member's  prediction of groundbreaking in the spring created some concern. Residents expressed interest in having input to the plans. A recurring comment was that this was not the right place for a dog park due to impact on scenic farming, impact and on area wildlife and lack of paved road access.

Committee members offered to discuss their plans in detail with residents. Of course according to the Parks, Recreaction, Land Preservation, and Trails 2010-2014 Master Plan page 16 more approvals with opportunity for public input will happen before any groundbreaking. The plan states - " To ensure continued protection of these resources the Parks and Recreation Commission must receive approval from the Township Board and Planning Commission for the implementation of significant recreation improvements in Township Parks"

There seemed to be some confusion on this point, with one resident saying he had been told by a township official that "Parks can do whatever they want". Actually what will happen is the Planning Commission will review the plans first in an open meeting and recommend that the Board of Trustees approve or deny them. The Board will make their decision  in an open meeting.

To see the above in this Master Plan ststement use this link to my website and go to page 16, 2/3 of the way down the page.http://oaklandtownshipsentinel.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/prc_master_plan.pdf

A number of other matters were discussed and decided. See Ingrid Kliffel's excellent summary  minutes on the township website once she posts them there or for an in depth view watch the video that will soon be posted on tbe township website.

If you care about parks and recreation, consider attending the next meeting in January and make you views known. The Parks and Recreation Commission has always welcomed citizen comment at their meeting and will generally answer your questions if possible. They can withstand criticism, but compliments are always welcome. They need to know what we like and do not like - both.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joseph Peruzzi December 12, 2013 at 11:32 AM
The dog park proposal that the township's citizens committee will put forward soon should be a great starting point in bringing a dog part, equestrian center and community garden element to fruition. I along with other members of the Parks Commission look forward to seeing their work. This job can be time consuming not only from a planning standpoint. Gaining resident consensus is difficult at best but very worthwhile in the long run. With about 11 years on the commission I think I can appreciate how difficult these processes are. Even though fellow commissioner Ann Marie Rogers and I don't always see eye-to-eye on topics, I do wish her and her committee well in tackling this tough project. I am convinced that the majority of the parks commission will be there to support our residents desires' for Watershed Ridge. In the past, parks and recreation has conducted resident design forums, public hearings and open houses for these type of projects. At no time has the Parks Commission ever expressed to my knowledge the notion that Parks can do whatever it wants. The commission's track record more than proves otherwise.
Robert A. Yager December 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Joe, Sorry that my comment was unclear. The resident was conveying that a Board of Trustees member was making a comment that I paraphrased "Parks can do whatever they want" as a disparaging remark about Parks and Recreation Commission's perceived arrogance. The resident was definitely not saying that Parks and Recreation had that attitude. He was saying that it was an opinion of a Board of Trustee's member.


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