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Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township asks for resident input as it plans changes to park system

By Tom Perkins


Kids play at Ypsilanti Township's Ford-Heritage Park.

Photo Courtesy of Ypsilanti Township

What can Ypsilanti Township do to add to and improve upon its extensive park system and recreation department?

Among ideas park officials are floating are a skate park, a dog park and a spray pad.

As part of the development of a new five-year master plan, the township's recreation department and Parks Commission are asking for input from residents on what improvements, changes and additions they would like to see over the next five years.

Residents can take the survey online. Recreation Director Art Serafinski said the process takes around six to nine minutes. Township and non-township residents who use the park system are all invited to take the survey.

“It’s an exciting time for the recreation department,” Serafinski said. “The township has been good at getting the community involved, and we’re excited and hoping people will take time to do survey.”


North Bay Park

Photo courtesy of Ypsilanti Township

The township has 900 acres of parks; 29 community and neighborhood parks; parcels of open greenspace that could be developed into parks and a community center on Holmes Road.

The 29 parks include larger community parks, like Ford-Heritage Park, with regional pull. They feature amenities like picnic shelters, trails, tennis courts and baseball diamonds. Ford Lake Park holds the only public boat launch on Ford Lake.

Smaller neighborhood parks often include playground equipment and are recreation pockets within residential zones.

Serafinski said the township is considering how to connect its trails to one another, connect its trails to libraries and commercial hubs; and is working with the Border to Border Trail to develop the trail through the township.

The recreation department also runs the community center on Clark Road that offers fitness programs, preschool art classes, racquetball, basketball and a "50 and Beyond" program that has more 1,200 members. The department also manages basketball, soccer and football leagues for kids.

Ypsilanti Township's Recreation Department manages the park system and recreation offerings with five full-time employees and between 10 and 50 part-time, seasonal employees. It has a budget of around $1 million.

Park Commissioner Lonnie Scott said the commission wants to see the parks play an even bigger role in improving the township's quality of life, as well as boost the number of activities offered. But he said doing so will take some creativity with a tightening budget, and residents' input will serve as a guide to developing the parks over the next several years.

"Just like every other part of the state our budget in Ypsilanti Township has dwindled and that means doing more with less," Scott said. "We will need to take a look at our current park structure and determine what we can do to best utilize what we have and what improvements or upgrades the community would like to see."

Take the survey here.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for



Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

I think a spray pad would be great! I'd definitely take my kids there in the summer. Something that I wish they'd work on is their attention to safety when working on the parks. This past summer they were doing improvements at Lakeside Park on Textile Rd. When I took my kids there after lunch there was a 5-6 foot hole about 2-3 feet in diameter on the playground left unattended with 4 sticks stuck in the ground around it that had yellow caution tape wrapped around them. Some children had walked to the park from a local neighborhood and of course the first thing they had to check out was the pit with the bright yellow flags drawing attention to it. I ended up guarding the hole from children after a number of other children were all curiously playing around it. I got on the phone with Ypsilanti township because I was afraid to leave for fear of what would happen. Then a worker showed up (back from lunch) and when I approached him about it I was informed that it had yellow caution tape so the kids would leave it alone...yeah because that works. It should have been covered when left unattended. I'm thankful nothing happened in the hour or more that passed while it was unattended. When I was on the phone with the township to report the issue I was basically told I should be happy they were making improvements to the park. So if I could do just one thing to change the parks and recreations department it would be to make sure all workers are taking the safety of our children seriously.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 1:27 a.m.

The problems we have with Ford Heritage Park include the liquor bottles, beer cans, broken glass, dope smokers, used condoms. Other than that it is a great place to take the kids and walk the dogs.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:11 a.m.

Sounds like a very educational experience to me. Thanks for those lovely thoughts. We hardly ever use the park system and as for the rec center? Dull villes. The little ones yes, nothing for adults and senors.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

How about a park for the Westlawn subdivision. They coulcquire that plot of land on Packard, or maybe some of the land behind Asia City.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

Treetown....are you talking about the land east of Boston ? If so, I think that it is just too close to Packard.And there's a reason why the plot between Eastlawn and Northlawn has no houses on it.It has to do with when the subdivision was built.I don't know if you realize it but all that area east of Eastman was swamp before the subdivision was built.In fact, Paint Creek ran from the golf course under Packard ( east of the dentist office ) and emptied there.

the good lady

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

I'am with Dan, we need better schools. why have better parks if you don't have the kido's. Responsible parents won't put their kido's in poor performing school district, like williow run. If you want families to move into williow run school district, then you need to improve the school district not the parks.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Same response to you, good lady--where is the connection between the Ypsilanti Twp. government and the various school districts? They're totally separate entities other than the Twp. collecting the taxes for them. Besides, the parks are there for more than children. My wife and I use them all the time and we're far from school age.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 3 p.m.

There are things I do not like about Ypsilanti Township, but the park system isn't one of them. As a family we use the parks a great, great deal and having them definitely improves our quality of life. A while back I remember the guy running the parks purchased "demo playground equipment" after it was used at a trade show and saved the township a bunch of money. Proof that at least someone working for the township has their eye on the ball. Whatever is decided I will fully support - as long as it involves maintaining the nice park system we have.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

Suggestions for better parks? How about keeping them open to the public. Every time I go to North Bay park next to the Marriot the gate is chained shut and padlocked, no matter what time of day. That is my favorite public park and I can't even get in there, I have to hope that some parking is available at the Park and Ride lot down the way. Keep public parks open to the public; if the township doesn't want to pay to maintain them then at least put a sign up telling people to use the park at their own risk. However, if you don't pay to maintain them then I need a refund on my insanely high property taxes. I hear gunshots and sirens way too much for the amount of taxes I pay and police response is a joke. Our roads are absolutely destroyed and our schools are gutted; Please, for the love of God, do not close public parks to the public; it's one of the few nice things we have left in Ypsi and Lord knows we pay for it.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

You can get in thru Grove Road. If not there. Then park across the street and walk across. Otherwise, Ypsi parks are being vandalized and it is a said thing to hear and see. Better safety I say.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

wish they would lock up ford heritage at dusk like they say they do.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

I wondered about the closing of that park myself. After talking to someone at Parks & Rec I discovered that it is one of several parks that have suffered from vandalism and other unruly behavior so the decision was made to close them in the "off season." The one thing that all the closed parks apparently have in common is the inability to see clearly what may be happening in them when law enforcement drives by. Have you tried parking and walking in from the Grove Road side?


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Ryan, rather than make this comment here you need to pass this comment onto the Board of Trustees and the Park Commission.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

must be talking about Ypsi and not the township as far as roads....Ypsi township has the best roads in the county according to the roads commission

Dan r OBryan

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

i think we need better schools then parks


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Yep...They need to teach kids the difference between " then " and " than "


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

How are schools the responsibility of the Township?

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Not my kids. Not my problem. Don't care.