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There is much discussion regarding ...

There is much discussion regarding Oakland County developing the Koenig Gravel Pit off of Lakeville Road. While there are oppositions to the proposal, perhaps taking a minute to reflect on the positives could bring both sides closer together.

I have heard concerns about the noise factor, traffic, dirt on Lakeville Road and horses cohabitating with machines to name a few. Let’s just think about these concerns.

The gravel pit has been there since the 1850’s and has used large, heavy equipment to mine the sand and gravel. Bulldozers, front end loader and other excavating machines really do make a lot of noise. Yet, the operation of these machines doesn’t seem to have been a problem for all these years.

It also has required gravel trains; many are tandems that flow in and out day after day, month after month and year after year, loading and carrying the supplies to needed areas. I think we can all agree gravel trains are pretty noisy too. A semi has 18 wheels which has carried mud and dirt onto Lakeville Road for over 100 years. I think it’s unlikely that any vehicle that would be using the property if developed into a park would track any more dirt onto the road than the large rigs we have all become accustom to. Again, no one has had serious opposition to them and it seems that the gravel pit and Oxford have cohabitated pretty well together for an awfully long time. I think it’s unlikely a dirt bike or a jeep will be any louder than the big machines used at the gravel pit.

The argument that horses and ORV’s won’t mix well can be disputed by most trail riders. Although I no longer own a horse, I know many who do. Folks who participate in trail riding, ride horses that are seasoned and handle traffic, cars, motorcycles and the like very well. If you doubt that, take the time to talk one of the 5100+ members of the Michigan Trail Rider Association (MTRA) who rides on the famous shore to shore rides that take place across beautiful Michigan several times a year. 150 riders at a time from all over Michigan, as well as other states and Canada, ride from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron (to name one example). They come from all walks of life; individuals and families alike, to share an interest in horses and the out-of-doors. They cross hundreds road and highways, ride into towns and are expected to use common sense, practice good trail etiquette, and respect all the lands through which they ride.

Clearly, to be able to accomplish a multi-day ride safely, their horses are used to noise and vehicles with motors and wheels. Horses are more likely to spook at a blowing plastic bag. There are over 172 horse farms within 50 miles of Oxford who I expect have equestrians who would love to visit our beautiful town and spend their money at stores, restaurants and gas stations. (If you question my statistics, Google horse farms in Oxford). Also, having public land to ride will be a great advantage for all trail riders. There is private riding acreage like Metamora Hunt Club but they are no public accesses.

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department are experts at maintaining their current parks. If you have never visited one of them, I encourage you to spend an afternoon at nearby Addison Oaks. You will find a beautifully designed destination that offers a whole host of outdoor activities. You will see families making memories and I am certain you will be pleased at the excellent job the county does.

On the practical side of things, a facility that offers so many amenities’ will need employees. I am uncertain how many people it will require but I am certain it would be quite a few. Providing jobs in these trying times… how could that be bad?

This type of facility promotes physical activity, actually moving around outdoors. In this complacent world we live in, we hear all the time that people need more physical movement. It’s good for the body, mind and the soul. It promotes family, fun and constructive entertainment that does not involve an electrical outlet. Again I pose the question… how can that be bad?

While it would be a change to what our community is used to, it is hard to believe that having a lovely park offering a place to fish, hike, wind surf, play with their dogs, kayak, zip line, ride their bikes (motorized and pedal), and ride their horses will be anything but a positive transformation. It could be a place to make memories and begin new traditions. It has the capability of making Oxford a family favorite destination. I ask you again… how could that be bad? I bet people who live in Frankenmuth would tell you their little town welcomes people from all over the world… that is part of their charm and adds to economic growth. This park could be part of ours. Great things often come from thinking outside the box and our comfort zones.

It is inevitable that the land will be transformed eventually, and it only seems logical that this kind of change could be the best option. I personally would rather this than another strip mall or an industrial park lined with factories. I’m just saying’… think about it... you may just change your mind and embrace what could be a wonderful thing for Oxford.

To be clear, I have no personal stake in this project, I just think it’s a good idea. Hopefully, if you consider about all the good things it can do for so many, you will too.

Oxford Resident, Patricia Flack

Patricia Flack
August 14, 2013

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