A new swimming pool, a rock-climbing wall and more hiking trails are just some of the things Grand Traverse County residents have said they want from their Parks and Recreation department, and now those elements are likely to be part of the department’s five-year plan to be adopted following one more public hearing tonight.
The goals were identified by the public at previous meetings, including one on Dec. 17 attended by about 90 people, Department Director Jason Jones says.
Some of the goals within the plan:
*Develop a new community recreation center including indoor rock climbing wall and new aquatic facilities. The contents and location will be discussed after the general plan is finalized. The Civic Center and the corner of Birmley and Keystone roads have been suggested as locations so far.
*Increase the network of trails within parks and connections to other trails.
*Improve facilities and activities at Power Island in West Grand Traverse Bay, Maple Bay off U.S. 31 just south of the Antrim County line and Medalie Park, at the south end of Boardman Lake next to Logan’s Landing.
Power Island improvements will likely involve beefing up the campground, signs and trails. Suggested Maple Bay improvements include pavilions, kiosks and trails.
*Acquire property on inland lakes for accessible beaches, particularly south of Traverse City.
“All of these goals need to be refined further,” Jones adds, noting that tonight’s meeting will go a long way toward finalizing them.
Where might funding come from for these potential projects? Dollars for the Maple Bay project could come from a state grant, and some of the smaller projects might be funded from the department's existing budget. Another option? A millage. Though no particulars have been determined and Jones acknowledges this could be controversial, he adds that 10 percent of the people who participated in the goal-setting process so far listed a millage among their wishes.
Tonight’s County Parks & Recreation hearing will be held at 6pm at the Governmental Center.