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Addison plan looks to add parks, other recreational facilities



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October 12, 2011 - Addison Township's Park and Recreation Committee is looking to add another park and some more amenities to its existing parks within the next six years.

Those details were laid out in the 2012-2017 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan during a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 3.

According to the master plan, the Committee is looking to add a recreational sports park, complete with soccer and baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts and an ice skating rink somewhere within the township.

"We want to put in one park that is recreational," Park Committee Chair Joe Schnur said. "Children have no place, the teenagers have no place to play any of the games they normally like to play. We really need such a park."

The Park Committee sent out a survey to all the township residents regarding the provision of services, facilities and programs within the township parks. According to the master plan, the survey was designed to be used as a "tool for identifying trends in recreational facility use and measuring the pulse of the community."

Schnur indicated out of 3,000 surveys sent out, a majority of the 75 responses noted a desire to place a sports park somewhere between Lakeville and Oxford.

"There is only one problem, that is the bottom of the township," Schnur said.

He added it would be better financially, and geographically, for the township to pursue placing a park somewhere between Lakeville and Leonard.

"The Leonard to Lakeville (area) is kind of in the middle, so from a geography standpoint that would be really easy to get to," he added. "But a lot of people really wanted that between Oxford and Lakeville."

People also indicated a desire for a place to ice skate, Schnur noted.

Schnur said the committee's goal was to identify and try to purchase a piece of land for the park sometime next year. However, due to the township's decline in tax revenue, the committee was going to have to look at obtaining grants from the state of Michigan to help pay for the land purchase.

Also included in the park's master plan was the idea of a bike path along Rochester and Lakeville Roads.

Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson said he spoke with the Oakland County Road Commission (OCRC) about the possibility of adding a bike lane when Rochester and Lakeville Roads get repaved next summer.

Pearson said the OCRC was looking to extend the shoulder on the east side of the road by five feet and restripe it, essentially designating a bike lane.

"They (OCRC) said they can't call it a bike path, but it's going to be an extra wide shoulder so that we can have bikes on there," Pearson explained. "We have nothing from Lakeville to get up to Leonard, so we are going to see if they can put that extra wide shoulder in."

Schnur indicated there was a possibility in the future of developing a circular bike path extending around the township.

"What we really wanted to do was go north along Rochester Rd. to the Polly Ann Trail, down the Polly Ann Trail to Lake George, Lake George down to Drahner, Drahner to Rochester Rd. and back up into Leonard," Schnur said. "The Polly Ann Trail crosses just south of Leonard, and that would be a good loop for people to ride on."

While at the public hearing, Addison Township Board Trustee John Boehmer submitted a letter to the park committee saying he would like to see additional detail about the circular bike path put into the master plan.

In addition to adding a recreational park, the plan also outlined improvements for the existing parks and preserve located within the township over the next five years.

The Watershed Preserve improvements, which include finishing the interior of the Arnold School building and adding a permanent bathroom facility, should be finished by 2014.

The park committee is also looking to construct a parking lot, dock and a picnic area in the Lake George Nature Park by 2013. By 2016, they are hoping to develop a trail system and have handicapped accessibility into the park.

The committee is also looking to upgrade the playground equipment at Labodie Park, located next to the Addison Township Hall, by 2015.

"The problem is getting the financing...that's tough," he said.

"It is going to take a big piece of change, and we have no idea how we are going to get that, but we are going to go after every grant we can and see what is possible," Schnur added.

The park committee will be submitting the master plan for the Township Board to review during their next scheduled meeting on Monday, Oct. 17. If the Board approves it, then the committee can forward it onto the Michigan Department of Natural Resource (DNR) for approval.

"If it approved by them (DNR), then it is ok to apply for grants," Schnur said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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