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Park Commission seeks input on 5-year plan

Published 9:43am Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Niles Charter Township Park Commission is completing its Parks and Recreation 5-Year Master Plan and would like input from Niles Township community members.
Those wishing to hear about the park plans and give feedback should attend the monthly Park Commission meeting on Monday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Niles Charter Township Hall, 320 Bell Rd., Niles.
The meeting is expected to last approximately one hour and an update will be given on park upgrade plans, including construction of the 4.5-mile Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail segment through Niles Charter Township.
Trail construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in the spring.
Harry Thibault, park commission chairman, said most of the Park Commission’s energy has been focused on the IN-MI River Valley Trail.
“We welcome comments on any of the parks, the trail and anything else related to our long-term goals,” he said.
The Park Commission’s mission statement is to have the most comprehensive and most accessible park and trail system in the state. It’s goal is to be a national model of excellence compared to other communities of its size.
Long-term goals of the Park Commission include:
• Develop a comprehensive hike/bike trail system throughout the township, including the completion of its 4.5-mile portion of the IN-MI River Valley Trail.
• Utilize grants, donations and volunteers to limit financial liability and be fiscally responsible to township constituents.
• Make our park’s general areas 100 percent handicap accessible.
• Coordinate with Michigan Department of Transportation to put in place a system that allows for roadside trails with new road projects.
• Bring an indoor playground facility to the community that is run either by a private enterprise or through an expanded parks commission. Assist any interested private enterprises with resources or information that would facilitate start-ups.
• Foster the growth of a state-of-the-art, all-sports, lighted field complex in the township.
• Update all of the township’s park facilities, equipment and landscaping. Look for sponsors for acquisitions and for upkeep of all park and trail facilities.
• Help schools acquire and maintain access to state-of-the-art sport/recreation facilities.
• Assist Southwest Michigan Economic Growth Alliance to coordinate growth and green space utilization of area businesses and assist in the 11th Street Corridor Project.
• Work with local legislators to bring park and recreation resources to the township.
• Develop a “Friends of Niles Charter Township Parks and Trails” committee.
• Establish and maintain consistent, quality communication between the Park Commission and the Parks Superintendent regarding all facets of current and future park projects and endeavors.
• Provide increased assistance to Niles Charter Township baseball and softball leagues in the form of upgraded facilities, fundraising, and coordination of communication needs.

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