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The original item was published from 6/21/2016 9:05:52 AM to 6/21/2016 12:02:47 PM.

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Posted on: June 21, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Sterling Heights City Council approves parks and recreation initiative for Nov. ballot

The Sterling Heights City Council voted Tuesday, June 7 to place a charter amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot for voter approval of a dedicated parks and recreation millage.

If approved, the millage will fund the City’s Recreating Recreation initiative that would deliver a diverse mix of recreational opportunities to the City’s 130,000-plus residents.

As Sterling Heights approaches the 50th anniversary of its incorporation in 1968, City leaders and administrators have been aggressively planning for the next phase of the City’s lifecycle. Determined to build upon the success of the first 50 years, the City completed a visioning process, Visioning 2030, which included a thorough analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats moving forward. While it was clear that Sterling Heights had established itself as a premier, full-service municipality with low taxes, efficient public services, and an excellent residential, commercial and industrial tax base, it became clear to staff that this model might prove difficult to sustain in the future. With a limited amount of vacant land for residential, commercial, and industrial development, a residential population that is growing older, and fewer school-age children, the City’s profile was very different from what existed during its growth stage starting in 1968.

“If the City is to sustain its vitality and avoid the decline that can happen as municipalities mature, it is important to have a plan and implement it,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “The City’s Vision Statement and Guiding Principles really capture the potential of what Sterling Heights can be. All of the resources are here to create a truly outstanding quality of life.”

The Recreating Recreation initiative seeks to leverage the existing natural resource assets to create a City that provides its residents with year-round recreational opportunities, including:

? Construction of a new 122,000 square foot Community Center that would be a draw for all residents participating in the wide-array of cultural and recreational programming produced by the Parks & Recreation Department.
? A permanent facility for the highly successful Dodge Park Farmers Market.
? A refrigerated ice-rink for winter enthusiasts seeking a place to enjoy outdoor skating.
? An outdoor sprayground that will provide families with a great place to cool down.
? A multi-use skatepark that will be a unique recreational opportunity for the more adventurous crowd.
? Development of a hike/bike trail linking Joseph J. Delia, Jr. Major Park with the City Nature Preserve. This hike/bike trail will, for the first time, allow residents to access the 110+ acre preserve from Delia Park.
? A dog park where man’s best friends can enjoy some off leash time together.
? Facilities for canoe and kayak enthusiasts to enjoy the best stretch of the Clinton River in Macomb County.
? Capital improvements to nearly every one of the City’s 26 neighborhood and 5 major parks.
? Access for City residents to enjoy an aquatics option for year-round water activity.
? A mini turf soccer field for those who enjoy playing the world’s most popular sport.

“There is so much potential to develop Sterling Heights as a place renowned for recreational opportunities,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “Creating new levels for our residents to connect with the City is exactly what placemaking strives to do. These new recreational amenities will be destinations for our residents and an attraction for families looking for an outstanding quality of life.”

The City estimates that the total cost to develop all of the proposed projects is $45 million. The cost to the average Sterling Heights homeowner is $62.96 per year for 20 years.

“In developing Recreating Recreation, we were very cost conscious,” said Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois. “We wanted to deliver exceptional recreational opportunities, but at a reasonable cost. So, most of the proposed facilities will not have membership fees that other communities typically charge. The whole concept is to bring our residents together and enjoy what this City has to offer. Recreation is something we believe should be available to all, and this plan helps us achieve that goal.”

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