In March 2010, the Williamson City Council reviewed and adopted a plan for its parks and recreation. The current Five-Year Master Plan is almost up , and the City of Williamston is looking to update its Master Plan through an online survey.
“We have an existing five-year plan and every five years, we are required to look at the plan and update it to be eligible for grants at the state level,” said City Manager Corey Schmidt. “You have to do a certain level of public engagement to update, so we have printed copies at the library and City Hall, and online.”
On Williamston’s website, www.williamston-mi.us, there is a link for the survey which closed Oct. 26. The 22-question survey asks various things, from which park locals frequent to the conditions of the parks in and around Williamston.
“I think, with the survey, it’s getting as many ideas, perspectives and opinions as possible so that we can, during our goal-setting session, going forward, it’s mutually beneficial,” said Mayor Tammy Gilroy. “There’s so many pocket parks in our community, and I don’t know if you get that in other communities. So it’s really important to us that we’re able to offer that to our residents.”
There are nine parks detailed in the Master Plan, all of which have specific details as to what updates will need to be made to the land over the course of five years. The issues and assets of the park are listed below the name, as well as the level of accessibility to the public. Parks that are more easily accessed by the public receive a higher score on a 4.0 scale, and aren’t as much of a priority to fix up.
For example, Memorial Park on Highland Street has limited parking and limited access to the Red Cedar River. Although it boasts sports fields and picnic tables, the lack of access to the park is what makes the changes more urgent than those needed at McCormick Park.
Located in the center of Williamston, McCormick Park has several assets, including play structures, a bandshell and art sculptures. Some issues originally noted with the park were limited shade and the wooden playground structure.
“There was a community-driven effort to refurbish a lot of the playground equipment, and that was achieved,” Schmidt said.
The Master Plan has a list of six goals and objectives to achieve after fixing the parks. The goals are as follows: provide recreation opportunities for all ages, encourage an active lifestyle, built a stronger community through social interactions, access to the Red Cedar River, offer environmental education opportunities and enhance community/citizen park maintenance opportunities.
“My expectation is that some of those items from the current plan, that either didn’t have enough funding or weren’t as much of a priority, will carry over into the new plan,” Schmidt said.
Answers to the survey will be used to develop ideas and objectives for the next five-year plan, which be put into action sometime in early 2019.