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Re: SG-W:/ Re: Great Counties have great parks



Excuse me for butting in, but as the father of a nine-year-old who sleeps,
eats and dreams soccer and is happiest when she is chasing a black-and-white
ball down a field on a bright, brisk, sunny Saturday morning, I have to
respond to Ms. Armentrout's input.  She is of course absolutely correct that
soccer fields do little in terms of global warming or biological diversity
and are actually detrimental to the extent that pesticides are used.  I
respectfully disagree with her that they are visually less pleasing than
open space, however.  I find nothing lovelier than watching a group of
children laughing and running and playing together outside, enjoying fresh
air and the outdoors, as opposed to typing alone on computer keyboards and
staring at monitors in their bedrooms and basements.  My daughter's love of
the outdoors is expanded by playing soccer, not diminished.  And my
understanding is that this sport is immensely popular and the number of
enthusiasts in fact grows by leaps and bounds each year - it is certainly no
longer a "small segment" of the population that enjoys it.  There are
purists and there are realists.  Let's go after the realtors and strip mall
developers and leave the playgrounds and soccer fields alone for now.

Pat Diehl




----- Original Message -----
From: Vivienne Armentrout <varmentrout000@ameritech.net>
To: Anne Heise <aheise@orchard.wccnet.org>
Cc: Barry Lonik <BLonik13@aol.com>; Leah Gunn <gunnl@co.washtenaw.mi.us>;
Janis Bobrin <bobrinj@co.washtenaw.mi.us>; Laura Rubin <lrubin@hrwc.org>;
Mike Garfield <michaelg@ecocenter.org>; smartgrowth-washtenaw
<smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2000 10:39 AM
Subject: SG-W:/ Re: Great Counties have great parks


> The problem I have with this is that it is all about soccer fields.  I
> am in favor of multiuse parks, but in my opinion we need to concentrate
> on preservation of natural areas, which are used primarily for passive
> recreation (though what is passive about hiking and enjoying wildlife, I
> have never understood).  Natural areas - uh, are natural, that is, they
> preserve our biological inheritance.  They are also good for clean
> water, clean air, and reducing global warming.  Even to drive by they
> enhance the visual impression of countryside.
>
> Soccer fields require turf and no trees.  Turf by its nature requires
> application of fertilizers and pesticides (I've seen descriptions of
> "green" golfcourses but not "green" soccerfields) and therefore will
> lead to eutrophication of water supplies.  Although I guess they are
> "open space", they are not particularly lovely and can mostly be enjoyed
> only by the small segment of the population who wants to play soccer or
> some other games.  They do nothing to preserve biological diversity.
>
> In my opinion, the drive for recreational land is a direct threat to
> real preservation of open space.  Any vehicle to purchase open space
> (e.g., a millage) needs to be protected from it.
>
> Vivienne Armentrout
>
> Anne Heise wrote:
> >
> > Metro suburbs run out of places for kids to play
> > Officials seek money, share fields to fill recreation needs
> >
> > By Edward L. Cardenas,, Kevin Lynch and Joel Kurth / The Detroit News
> >
> > GROSSE POINTE WOODS -- On many Saturdays, Richard Carron finds himself
> > watching the clock as often as the kids and soccer game he is coaching.
> >
> > Time is of the essence for coaches like Carron and players on the
crowded
> > fields ofthe five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.
> >
> > "On game days, teams get on and get off so the next team can get on,"
> > Carron said. "It becomes hard to get rain dates games played because
> > the fields are hard to find."
> >
> > Many Metro Detroit communities are struggling to find enough time and
park
> > space to satisfy growing recreational needs. The problem is particularly
> > severe in older, fully developed suburbs where land is scarce. This
> > recreation dilemma is forcing many to reevaluate the recreational needs
of
> > their residents.
> >
> > "We have stretched our facilities beyond maximum,"
> > said John Bruce, executive director of the Neighborhood Club, which
> > provides sports and recreation programming to the nearly 60,000
residents
> > in the five Gross Pointes and Harper Woods.
> >
> > "We have such a great community we want to take it
> > up a notch," said Sharon Cahill of Grosse Pointe Park, who attended a
> > recent community forum sponsored by the Neighborhood Club to get input
on
> > a recreation master plan for the six eastern Wayne County suburbs. She
has
> > five children involved in a variety of sports.
> >
> > "I'm really excited (about the plan). This is what the Grosse Pointes
are
> > all about, "Cahill said.
> >
> > Practice and playing time is at a premium for the 8,000 children and
> > adults who play on 700 teams in a variety of sports in the communities,
> > Bruce said. These baseball, soccer and basketball teams use a mix of
> > athletic fields owned by the municipalities and the Grosse Pointe Public
> > School System.
> >
> > Carron, who has three teams in the two Grosse Pointe soccer
associations,
> > said the crunch forces him to be creative in carving out practice and
game
> > times on the precious few playing fields in the area. He has used
patches
> > of grass, less than regulation field size, with homemade pipe goals to
> > prepare his teams for games.
> >
> > "It has become more difficult to get quality fields or a quantity of
> > fields for practices," said Carron of Grosse Pointe Wood.
> >
> > Orion Twp. seeks space
> >
> > Swelling populations also have some Oakland County communities
scrambling
> > to meet increasing demands for recreation.
> >
> > "It puts us in a bit of a bind, to be honest," said Rock Blanchard,
Orion
> > Township's director of parks and recreation.
> >
> > "They want the same services, but none of the bad stuff. They don't want
> > the dark alley they left to avoid, but they still need the playgrounds,
> > basketball courts and ice-hockey rinks they are accustomed to."
> >
> > Orion Township's population has risen 48 percent since 1990 to 31,000
> > people, but tax revenues haven't kept pace with the growth and
> > expectations of residents. Township officials will meet next week to
> > consider a tax increase to raise $7 million for park improvements and
land
> > purchases. About $2 million of the proposed increase would go to buy
land.
> >
> > Blanchard couldn't say how much undeveloped land remains in the
> > 20,000-acre township. But he did say developers are snatching up tracts
> > before the township can react.
> >
> > "We're having to play catch-up. We should have bought land a long time
> > ago, but we missed out."
> >
> >                         Racing for recreation
> >
> > Plymouth Assistant City Manager Paul Sincock looks at neighboring Canton
> > Township and Northville. Both of those western Wayne communities have
> > plenty of land for recreation. Then he looks at his own, older city
which
> > lacks those land resources and the exploding tax base of its growing
> > neighbors.
> >
> > Sincock and other Plymouth officials just want to keep up in the race
for
> > recreation.
> >
> > "Certainly, Canton Township and even Northville have been very
aggressive
> > about getting a hold of land for public parks," Sincock said. "We've got
> > to be a little more creative when it comes to recreation."
> >
> > Aside from numerous neighborhood parks too small to be used for
organized
> > sports, Plymouth owns no recreational land. Rather, it forms
partnerships
> > with schools, businesses and other local governments to use sports
fields
> > for city leagues in baseball, basketball, football and soccer.
> >
> > Ford Motor Co. and Unysis allow those leagues to play soccer on their
> > corporate lawns. Plymouth pays for the extra insurance the companies
must
> > carry and Wayne County sets aside time for Plymouth sports teams in
Hines
> > Park. Almost every school in Plymouth lends the city the use of its
sports
> > fields.
> >
> > Bruce said the Neighborhood Club in the Grosse Pointes, which contracted
> > with McKenna Associates to create a master plan for recreation for the
> > next 10 to 15 years, may look into a similar situation.
> >
> > "We are not going to be able to provide major recreation facilities
> > improvement without some type of collaborative structure," Bruce said.
> >
> > Auburn Hills sets pace
> >
> > In contrast, Auburn Hills has splurged, carving out green spaces to
> > accommodate residential and business growth from the Palace of Auburn
> > Hills and DaimlerChrysler office complexes.
> >
> > The city has spent more than $17 million in the past 10 years buying
> > Fieldstone Gulf Club of Auburn Hills; the E. Dale Fisk Hawk Woods Nature
> > Center that offers trails and cabins; and building paths along the
Clinton
> > River.
> >
> > It is involved in a $500,000 plan to build a yet-unnamed park on 25
acres
> > on Squirrel near M-59. That park would be connected with pathways to
> > nearby Riverside Park.
> >
> > But only about 1,000 available acres of land remain in Auburn Hills, and
> > residents are clamoring for soccer fields and other amenities,
recreation
> > director Brian Marzolf said.
> >
> > "When people are looking to move in, they ask about our parks," Marzolf
> > said. "It's a big factor in moving. Corporations are trying to sell
parks
> > to employees, too. It's a go-go life, and people want places to slow
down
> > a bit and relax."
> >
> > Macomb Twp. creates parks
> >
> > Another fast-growing Metro Detroit community, Macomb Township, also is
> > trying to appease its residents' hunger for parks, ball diamonds and
> > soccer fields.
> >
> > Four years ago, Macomb Township voters passed a 1-mill recreation
millage
> > to create a parks and recreation department. Three large parks are being
> > developed and year-round programming provided for all ages.
> >
> > "It is very rare in our profession to start a program from scratch,"
said
> > Marty Pipenbrok, Macomb Township parks and recreation director. "We are
> > taking a very family oriented attitude, so everyone can take part in the
> > programs and share in the experience."
> >
> > The township is building its first fully developed park on a 17-acre
> > parcel near 21 Mile and Romeo Plank. It is expected to open to the
public
> > by next summer. Two other parks will be developed on 400 acres near 25
> > Mile and Broughton, where the new township hall will be built later this
> > year.
> >
> > Canton Township in western Wayne County, like Macomb Township, has
plenty
> > of land for sports fields. What is stopping the list of recent
recreation
> > projects in Canton from growing even longer is the rising cost of real
> > estate.
> >
> > "We may have the land out here, but it comes at a steep price these
days,"
> > said Mike Gouin, Canton's parks and recreation manager. But even when it
> > means higher taxes, Gouin points out, residents want their sports
fields.
> > Voters approved a bond issue to pay for the $4.7-million purchase of a
> > 12-diamond softball park in 1998. Gouin now has his eye on 80 acres of
> > land next to 40 acres the township already owns for yet another park.
> >
> > "I think the demand has always been there," Gouin said. "Fortunately in
> > the last 10 years, we have developed the financial resources to respond
to
> > residents who want recreation close to home."
>
>
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