EDMORE — From newlyweds to a home daycare owner to grandparents, more than a dozen Edmore-area residents voiced their wishes and concerns about the future of the parks in the village.
Edmore’s five-year Park and Recreation Plan is currently undergoing a 30-day public input period, which will end Feb. 13. The Edmore Planning Commission held a public input meeting Monday night to get feedback about what residents wanted.
“We’re hoping to try and get some collaboration around the community,” said Planning Commission Chairman Rich Adgate. “The first start is for us to have a master plan. We first had to have one for us to get to the next level. The next level is we can be working and tweaking it.”
Five areas are outlined in the Park and Recreation plan include Glenn D. Curtis Memorial Park, Johnson Park (the tennis courts and basketball hoops), Fred Meijer Heartland Trail, ball diamonds and the four-acre, village-owned property off of Railroad Street between Fifth and Fourth streets.
Ideas were tossed out for implementing things such as a splash pad, pickleball courts, additional tee-ball fields and various age-appropriate playground equipment, but the main narrative was how to improve the current park.
“If you were here in Edmore there isn’t a convenient or easy way to get to a park without crossing a street,” Village Manager Neil Rankin said. “You should have that interconnectivity.”
Connectivity wasn’t the only complaint about Glenn D. Curtis Park. Rankin, Adgate and residents voiced their irritation about the crowd the skate ramps draw, issues using and renting the pavilion and lack of parking and sidewalks. Or, as Adgate summed up, a problem of safety and security.
Heather Bogart, an Edmore resident who runs a home daycare business, mentioned she was at times hesitant to take the kids from daycare to the park because of teenagers who hang out at the park.
Jess Aldridge, who works at the Endeavor Center and recently moved to Edmore, also takes children to Glenn D. Curtis Park during the summer.
“The average age of our kids is fourth to sixth grade,” Aldridge said. “A lot of the feedback is they don’t feel safe going to Curtis Park.”
Right now, the village park is one of the few areas for children, adolescents and adults to gather, but several of the residents at the public input meeting complained about teenagers deterring them and their children from using the park.
“Moving the skate park ramp to a different location is one idea,” Village President Michael Kotenko said. “A large number of the calls I handled (as a police officer) were related to the foul language and possible illicit drug use. I don’t think the expense would be too great but still have a much-needed area for the teens for a skate park.”
Rankin suggested that fixing some of the minor problems, like parking and pathways, would bring more people to the parks and make the teenagers want to find a different place to hang out.
“I know the mentality of teenagers,” Rankin said. “They’re going to congregate where they’re going to congregate but it’s going to become a lot less cool when there are little kids and parents hanging around.”
Another complaint about the park was accessibility. There’s too much accessibility for kids to run into the street and not enough within the park for people with disabilities to access all of the amenities.
In the five-year plan, Glenn D. Curtis Park scored a one out of five for accessibility because the current parking lot, play equipment, restrooms and walkways are noncompliant with basic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
Adgate said that improving Glenn D. Curtis Park will be Edmore’s park project this year. The five-year plan estimates improvements of the park to cost around $200,000, but funding outside of the village will be available through grants and local donations (such as the Curtis Foundation).
Copies of the five-year Parks and Recreation Plan can be viewed at the Edmore Village Office and the Home Township Library. The plan can also be viewed at www.edmore.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Edmore-draft-recreation-plan-2016-002.pdf online.