City approves recreation plan
According to City Manager Sheila Aldrich, the plan is required by the state, and one must be produced every five years. She explained that the plan must include whatever the city would like to see in its future, just in case a grant or other source of funding becomes available.
“The DNR Trust Fund grants, and a lot of grants, actually, that are out there, we get a lot more points if we have what we are applying for,” she said. “You can show that you planned for it.”
Councilperson Bill Vandagriff, who worked on creating the plan, echoed this sentiment.
“It actually is … a wish list,” said Vandagriff. “Everything that’s on here, obviously, is not going to be done. We had to put things on here, anything we could think of that we might want to have … in case a grant became available.”
The plan was prepared by Vandagriff, who is also a Manistique Recreation Board alternate, Manistique Recreation Board alternate
Doug Smith, Manistique Recreation Director Bill Pohlman, the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission, and Rhiannon Haller from CUPPAD. It covers the period of time from April 1, 2014 until April 1, 2019.
“If people read this … they will realize the work that’s gone into this,” Aldrich said.
The plan begins by noting that residents support the Manistique Recreation Board through taxes and volunteer work. It explains the work outlined in the plan will be implemented using local funds, donations, and by applying for state and federal recreation grants.
Manistique Recreation Department staff currently consists of a part-time director and two part-time employees. The department has a budget of approximately $142,000 a year, some of which comes from the Department of Public Works’ budget for maintenance of recreation facilities.
The city’s parks and recreational facility inventory includes: Emerald Elementary School, Central Park, Lake Michigan/ Lakeview Park, Intake Park, Manistique River mouth public access, Department of Natural Resources public boat launch, Pioneer Historical Park, Manistique City Marina, Blanchard Park, snowmobile trail, Manistique High School, Schoolcraft
Memorial Hospital Fitness Center, Manistique Senior Citizen’s Center, East Lakefront Park, Little Bear West Arena, pocket parks, boardwalk, The Warehouse, Denton/ Nelson Field, Northern Escape Marina, city of Manistique campground, non-motorized path, and Lakeview Lanes and Mini-golf.
According to the plan, Manistique experienced a significant decline in residents from 2000-2010 – over 13 percent.
“The population trend for the city of Manistique has been in a continual decline for the past 70 years,” the report reads. “In these years, there was a shift of population from the city to rural settings. These new rural residential areas still rely on the recreational facilities provided by the city of Manistique.”
The report goes on to state that there are indicators that the population will remain stable, with minimal decline, into the future. In the next five years, the report estimates the median age for the area will be 43 years of age.
The largest employer in the area is listed as Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, with FutureMark – Manistique, Manistique Area Schools, and the county/city government right behind it.
The median household income is listed as $29,076 in 2011, with the median house value set at $53,674 that same year.
Based on these trends and information, most of which was provided by census data, the recreation department set the following goals to develop recreational activities: to provide a wide variety of recreation opportunities for all of the city’s residents and visitors; to make maximum use and develop maximum potential of existing resources and facilities; to provide recreational opportunities to maintain and enhance the tourism potential of the local economy, and to develop a “use review program,” within the city of Manistique.
Some of the department’s policies will include: involvement from the city and concerned individuals and organizations to development programs aimed at minimizing vandalism to the city’s facilities; to minimize the effects of vandalism by promptly calling attention to it; to minimize the effects of inadequate or nonexistent services of city facilities; and to regularly remove refuse.
The “action plan”, the recreation plan’s core, notes that it is important to Manistique to stay current on recreational activities to draw more families and individuals to the area.
“The city of Manistique will continue to develop the recreation capabilities for its residents, students and visitors alike,” the report reads. “With the ever-increasing tourism in the Manistique area, continuing the development of recreational capabilities will play an important role in the economic success of Manistique.”
It adds that the planned capital development in the city will need to be maintained to be “utilized to their fullest”.
These capital development projects, which are funded through various sources and organizations, or have yet to receive funding, include: the final phase of the Manistique Marina project, which will include 22 new boat slips, broadside docking, a redesigned parking lot, additional playground equipment for a total of $2.5 million; the construction of the Lake Michigan City Campground, which will be owned by Manistique and accommodate recreational vehicles, camping trailers, tents and permanent cabins for a total of $1.5 million; the development of Bicycle Route 10, which will extend the state of Michigan Bicycle Route 10 along U.S. 2 at a cost of $3 million; the completion of the Riverview Project, a nonmotorized pathway that will extend the west end of the boardwalk along the Manistique River into Central Park and back to the east end of the boardwalk for $1.5 million; the construction of a skate park in either Blanchard or Central parks for $150,000; establishing bike parking downtown and at all recreation areas at a cost of $10,000; the resurfacing of city playgrounds for $15,000 each; the improvement of recreation facility accessibility to meet ADA guidelines at a cost of $100,000; the construction of a splash park at the marina or Central Park for $65,000; renovation and historic designation of the car ferry docks for $1 million; fitness trail equipment on the boardwalk for $50,000; develop public access at the Manistique River mouth at a cost of $35,000; and Little Bear West Arena improvements and repairs for $400,000.
In addition, phase two of Central Park improvements are planned, and include: the renovation of Legion and Water Tower Baseball fields; adding a second concession stand at Central Park; developing a lighted cross country ski trail; constructing a pavilion/gazebo; adding fitness trail equipment; renovating the band shell; completing an archery range; replace the Lighthouse Clubhouse play structure and surface; installing a tow rope on the sledding hill; installing horseshoe pits; constructing beach volleyball and pickle ball courts; installing a security camera system; and resurfacing the tennis courts. These improvements total over $1.1 million dollars.
The recreation plan also includes results of a recreation survey, taken by residents. In this survey, numerous residents indicated they utilize Manistique’s recreational offerings, but know little of any projects the city has been planning, including the development of a city campground.
The council members unanimously approved the five-year recreation plan. The document is available on the city’s website, www.cityofmanistique.org, under the “downloads” tab.