GLADSTONE - The Gladstone City Commission took another step towards recreation facility improvements during their regular meeting Monday night by approving the 2013 City of Gladstone Recreation Plan.
"The rec plan, just like the city's master plan, needs to be redone every five years," explained City Manger Darla Falcon.
The entire document, which contains information about projects the city would like to accomplish in the next five years, is first reviewed by city staff. After any revisions have been made, the plan is sent to county and state agencies and the city begins an open comment period for 60 days. During that time, residents have an opportunity to raise any concerns over the plan.
"All comments need to be brought back to the city clerk, and we did not receive any comments in that 60 day period, so it is now time to submit this plan to the state of Michigan," said Falcon.
Following the approval by the city commission the recreation plan will be submitted to the state where it will serve as a reference for the city's plans. When the city requests grant funding from a government agency the plan will be checked. If the project is not listed in the recreation plan, grant money will not be awarded to the city.
"(The plan is) pretty aggressive but if it's not in here then we could be forfeiting grant money," said Falcon.
Incorporated in the plan are improvements to the sports park including upgrades to Howes Ball Field and a complete rebuild of Cannon Field and the creation of an archery range, a dog park, a designated walking trail, zip lines, a disc golf course, and an additional ball field.
"The rec board along with the people that have been involved with this have done a fantastic job. It's
been well thought out, it's specific - for the short term and for (the) future," said Commissioner Hugo Mattonen.
Other recreation facilities are also addressed in the plan. Examples of projects planned for the next five years include campground expansion, harbor upgrades, asphalt repair at Van Cleve Park, and a non-motorized trail toward Escanaba.
"When I was running for the commission I really wanted a bike path headed towards Escanaba, and so I'm really happy to see that's on here," said Commissioner Jay Bostwick.
The trail, which has been a work in progress for the city for a number of years, will run along U.S. 2 and 41 on the lake side from Gladstone to P.5 Road. Last year the city received a $10,000 grant from the Hannahville Indian Community to conduct a study for the path, which will eventually connect Gladstone to Escanaba.