By Sal LaFata
Meridian Times staff writer
Meridian Township Parks and Recreation has created a five-year plan to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by providing diverse park facilities and recreation opportunities where participants are able be free and enjoy themselves.
The Parks and Recreation staff led the planning process and preparation of the master plan, with assistance from the elected Park Commission and other township staff members.
The intent of this plan is to identify the current and future parks and recreation needs to maintain and improve the quality of life in the community.
“This plan serves as a guide for future projects in our community, and it also provides an opportunity for us to obtain input from the community to gauge how they feel about our park system,” said LuAnn Maisner, director of Meridian Township Parks and Recreation.
A survey of Meridian Township citizens showed emphatic support for the maintenance, stewardship and development of quality parks and recreation facilities.
1. Document broad-based public input regarding the current and future parks and recreation needs and priorities of residents.
2. Document the needs and desires of current Meridian Township.
3. Provide the Park Commission, department staff, and other community stakeholders with information to guide parks and recreation planning for the next five years.
4. Project the needs of current and future residents based upon demographic trends and public input.
“We had nearly 1,200 people provide input into the plan. Overall, residents highly value our parks. Ninety-six percent said they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with our park system,” said Maisner.
Youth sports in Meridian Township will obtain multiple new athletic fields, according to the master plan, which will allow the children to have full and new fields to play on.
As of right now, the children are forced to play and practice on small areas of flat land in Meridian. Fields from Ingham County have been rented for baseball and soccer in the past, but with the master plan, that will no longer be necessary.
John Veenstra, a trustee for Meridian, supports the new master plan and says she understands the need for additions and updates to the current park systems.
“I think (the plan) is well done and is very interesting. As a former youth soccer coach, I know we need more soccer fields,” said Veenstra.
Jane Rose, a Meridian Township resident, was concerned with the low amount of signage on Marsh Road for the Historical Village and the new chapel, which may be rented out for events.
Maisner assured everyone that there will be new and additional signage up in the very near future.
The master plan for the Parks and Recreation Department was agreed upon by all members of the Township Board.
Once this plan is adopted, it will be forwarded to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment for grant eligibility.
For information about the master plan, contact LuAnn Maisner at 517-853-4600 or Maisner@Meridian.mi.us.