BY MICHAEL WALTON
TRAVERSE CITY — Officials want public comment on a long-term plan to improve parks and recreation opportunities in Grand Traverse County.
A 240-page draft of the plan identifies five overall goals for the county's Parks and Recreation Department, such as developing more recreational programming and partnerships with other community organizers.
It also includes a list of 15 specific projects, among them acquiring public beach property on inland lakes and building a new recreation center equipped with an indoor rock climbing wall and new aquatic facilities.
Much of the impetus for the plan's details came from public comments, including a public hearing held by the Parks and Recreation Commission during a meeting on Jan. 17.
Recreation department officials will continue to collect public feedback until Feb. 21. A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. that day during a recreation commission meeting.
"We want to know if we missed anything, but more importantly we want to know what people think about what we've put on paper," Parks and Recreation Department Director Jason Jones said.
Department officials will finalize their draft after the meeting.
The completed long term plan should help the department pursue grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other funding sources.
Possible grant-funded projects include establishing a trail connection between Medalie Park, the Nature Education Reserve and the Keystone Soccer Complex, and improving the docks and moorings at Power Island.
The plan also serves as a reference tool for the public, Jones said. It contains a four-page listing of parks and recreation areas in the county, and it lists the activities and amenities available at each location.
The draft of the plan is available for review on the county's parks and recreation website.
Comments can be submitted to Jones by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 922-4511.