The Macomb Daily

Parks and Rec Master Plan update greenlit

- By Nicole Tuttle

With plans for a new park in Macomb Township already moving ahead towards a potential fall opening date, Macomb Township’s Board of Trustees recently approved an updated parks and recreation master plan.

On Jan. 25 during a regular meeting, the board held a public hearing for the 2023 parks and recreation master plan, then adopted the plan.

“This is a document that we began working on this past summer. I’ve been working with Mr. (Salvatore) DiCaro (parks and rec director) and his staff as well as our consultant to put this plan together. It has been on display. The draft, final draft version has been on display since mid-November. It has been available here at the township as well as the parks and rec building and the library. We have been accepting comments since that period began,” Planning Director Josh Bocks said.

Bocks said that a survey was taken for the parks and rec master plan early in the process.

“I think that the plan addresses what we heard from that survey. Once we put the draft plan together, and as I mentioned, it has been available since midNovembe­r, we have not received a single comment about it,” Bocks said.

On Jan. 30, Bocks said that the parks and rec plan is updated every five years, as required by the state. He said that the plan update involves removing ideas that no longer work and adding key new items for Macomb Township to accomplish, such as building Pitchford Park.

“Five years ago it was not though of, we did not know there would be a donation of land to the township,” Bocks said. “It is not something we were planning on or expected, but obviously we want to include it in the plan.”

On April 14, 2021, the Macomb Township Board of Trustees authorized Supervisor Frank Viviano to execute the real property donation agreement and closing documents between the township and Kay Arrowhead LLC, representi­ng donors Pamela Pitchford and her husband Joe “Kay” Kowalczyk. Pitchford Park is located on Romeo Plank, one fourth of a mile north of 22 Mile Road. The board sold several separate properties to finance the park, and awarded the contract for its constructi­on to Warren Contractor­s and Developmen­t Inc. The contract was awarded in the amount of $4,049,839.60. Plans for this park include a dog park, pickleball courts and tennis courts.

DiCaro said that Pitchford Park has begun with preliminar­ies, such as breaking ground and moving dirt.

“More intense things will happen in the spring, when the weather breaks for good,” DiCaro said. “We are shooting for a late summer, early fall opening.”

Bocks also confirmed that the plan now includes recently acquired property for the Paul and Annette Lucido River Park, and adding options for off road network connection­s. The park is located at 52172 North Avenue. This former Lions Club property was purchased by the township on Nov. 17, 2022. On Dec. 21, 2022, the family of the late Paul G. Lucido donated the purchase price of the property, $125,000, so that the future park would be dedicated to Paul and Annette Lucido. Macomb Township Trustee Peter J. Lucido III presented the donation to the board.

The emergence of programs is also considered in the master plan, as this can affect amenities. Bocks said that for example, pickleball has taken off as a sport in the last few years, and this may not have been considered five years ago.

“Some of it is obviously more important than others. Maintainin­g what we have, first and foremost. We do not want a loss of amenities. And new items. One unique thing about the parks and rec master plan, is there is not really a penalty for pie in the sky goals,” Bocks said. “Any grant money available, usually grants are tied to the parks and rec master plan. If it is not in the master plan you can’t apply for the grant. Some of the offroad corridors would take decades to realize, but we have got it in the plan. You never know when grant or some type of funding could pop up.”

DiCaro also said that parks and rec master plan updates are necessary in order to become eligible for any type of grant funding. He said the plan serves as a roadmap for the direction of his department for about five years in the areas of indoor and outdoor recreation.

“It kind of gives us a direction of, what would we like to see happen. We get input from the residents as to what they would like for recreation,” DiCaro said.

Work first began on the 2023 updates to the existing plan in May or June of 2022, according to Bocks. DiCaro said that he met with Bocks and his consultant­s Carlisle Wortman and Associates early in the process.

“We helped them with the surveys and trying to get some input from residents,” DiCaro said. “They did a really nice job this year. It did go online and got 500 responses.”

Bocks said that working with parks and recreation staff was also crucial in allowing the township to understand where parks and recreation hoped to expand existing programs, such as those for senior citizens.

“The senior center is now expanding to offer more for that portion of the population, which is growing, and how we can help the growing and aging population. And once we got some ideas we internally discussed them. Then we formatted a survey that really helped shape the plan,” Bocks said.

The Marvin Blank Senior Center is located at 51210 Alma Drive. An outdoor patio was recently added to the center, funded by Community Developmen­t Block Grant money. In a Nov. 30, 2022 memo to the board of trustees, Human Resources Director Jeff Tabaka wrote that there is a three-phase plan in the works to renovate the former sheriff’s substation and the former broadcast media space for senior citizen use. DiCaro said that there is a threeyear plan between block grant funds and township funds to remodel the senior center.

 ?? PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNMARIE CHAMBERLAI­N ?? On Jan. 25, the Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved the 2023Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Pictured is Pitchford Park, which is still under constructi­on.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNMARIE CHAMBERLAI­N On Jan. 25, the Macomb Township Board of Trustees approved the 2023Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Pictured is Pitchford Park, which is still under constructi­on.

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