Area rec committee continues cooperative efforts
REED CITY — You don’t have to be able to pronounce GRCARA, but rest assured it is alive and well, and moving forward.
At a meeting last week at the Hersey Township Hall, members of the Greater Reed City Area Recreation Authority gathered again with Harry Burkholder of the LIAA to continue the process of building an area wide recreation plan.
Burkholder, a community planner who has been working with a committee representing several areas that makes up the “community”, explained the first look at what is now known as the Greater Reed City Area Parks and Recreation Plan.
That first look gives the larger community a chance to check it out, look for needed additions, spelling corrections, perhaps easier to understand explanations, and be part of the process in preparing the document for adoption.
Participation in the plan at this point includes the City of Reed City, Village of Hersey, Hersey Township, Lincoln Township and Richmond Township.
The steering committee includes Ron Marek, Bonnie Danzeisen, Marlene Fatum, Dianne Phelps, John Calabrese, Bev Proefrock, Patrick Kailing, Maynard Bluhm, Paul Thibodeau, Edith Benzing, Norman Blood, Dwight Gingrich, David Bisbee, Jeanette Hayes, Kevin Rambadt, Phil Rathbun and Dan Massey.
Presentation of the plan for review comes after months of meetings and discussions which has established some common goals and concerns, and a spirit of community that extends throughout that area with a real interest in developing its recreational interests together.
As that process continues on this one project, other possibilities will be looked at for an even greater “community” to be included in still larger projects.
At this point, it’s going well. Not all things are written in stone, and the meetings allow for input from others in an effort to address any concerns, as well as hear new ideas.
The tentative plan includes maps showing recreational assets, along with an appendix that provides information concerning population descriptions, public meeting results, and a whole variety of informational materials to document the process and make it available for others to study.
The action plan lists goals and objectives, how they can be met through funding and other sources, and educating the larger community concerning what things can be achieved and why.
In addition, population trends are addressed and a focus includes what things are available in the area, and what things would be appreciated by not only those who live in the current focus area, but come to this part of Michigan throughout the year for recreation and help the economy as well. What are some of their needs, how can those needs be addressed by this effort, and how can that benefit this larger community as well.
Some of the greatest assets in this “community” includes the crossroads aspect of the Rails to Trails, as well as snowmobiling, bike riding, and much, much more.
Once the document is checked for additions, corrections, accuracy of maps, and considered ready for approval, all of the jurisdictions involved must approve it.
Burkholder said at that point, “You’re rounding third, you might say, and then you have the actual authority to do something.” Once the last jurisdiction has accepted, it will be sent to the state for approval for public comment, and a date set for a public hearing.
As the work continues, as always, comments and ideas are welcome from the public. It has been emphasized this is meant to be done with a spirit of cooperation, not something that is “us” and “them,” but rather the beginning steps to reach in and find out how it can truly be done in a larger community fashion to benefit the entire area.