When members of the Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Advisory Board meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mahany/Meininger Senior Center they'll review a list of growing needs for various items to maintain and improve Royal Oak's parks.
Tod Gazetti, superintendent of recreation, has outlined a list of capital improvements for discussion. The estimated cost of all the items is more than $1 million.
Of that total, the majority is wanted for athletic field lighting at Worden Park ($500,000) and for playground structures and tennis court resurfacing ($185,000) at six different park locations.
Picnic pavilion is top priority
At the top of the list of priorities is a picnic pavilion at Memorial Park.
"Royal Oak is deficient in picnic shelters for our residents," said Gadzetti, superintendent of recreation, in a letter to city officials. "Based on the National Recreation and Park Association national standard, we should have 10 picnic shelters. We currently have four."
Memorial Park is the first choice for a picnic structure because it would have the least amount of impact on the neighborhood, according to Gazetti, who estimates the project cost at $50,000. The pavilion could generate $4,000 - $6,000 in revenue annually, he said.
Other items on the wish list include:
- Athletic field lighting at Worden #4 and #5: $500,000
- New parking lots at Whittier and Exchange: $50,000 – 90,000
- Playground structure Wendland Park: $30,000
- Fibar playground mulch installation program: $40,000
- Baseball field mix installation program: $40,000
- Playground structures and tennis court resurfacing: Memorial Park ($40,000), Gunn Dyer ($30,000), Waterworks Tennis Courts ($25,000) Kenwood ($35,000), Fulton ($30,000) and Dickinson Tennis Courts –possible new pickleball site – ($25,000)
Gazetti pointed out that last year, through various funding sources, playground structures were installed at Starr/Jaycee, Optimist, and Huntington Woods Park, and tennis courts at Lockman and Meininger Parks were resurfaced.
Parks part of strategic planning
In a citywide survey conducted in the fall by Cobalt Community Research – a Lansing-based nonprofit organization – residents were asked to chime in on whether or not less-used city parks should be sold to "improve parks that are used more often."
To date, the results of the survey have not been released by the city, but an unofficial survey conducted by Royal Oak Patch shows 43.3 percent of poll-takers opposed the sale of parks, while 28 percent are in favor and 28.7 percent need more information.
All of Royal Oak's community parks are dedicated, therefore they cannot be sold without a majority of residents' voter approval.
This subject of Royal Oak parks is expected to be on the agenda at the strategic planning meeting set for Jan. 18 in the Police Conference Room at 221 E Third Street.