What You Should Know About the Parks Millage Renewal on the Ballot Nov. 8th

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Despite the limited staff and revenue from the Parks Millage, through grants, our parks are improving. Over the past year, the City of Flint has completed over $1,400,000 worth of park grants, not including the multi-million dollar project at Chevy Commons. Currently, planning & development staff are working on over $2,600,000 of park related grants.

The City of Flint has also been working to increase services and improve the quality of our parks through partnership and volunteer recruitment. The City has expanded its partnership with the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission to provide mowing, maintenance, family programing, security patrols by County Park Rangers at no additional cost from the pilot partnership formed in 2014. The new 5 year extension now includes 12 properties and over 500 acres inside the City of Flint. The County Parks have also installed new playgrounds at Max Brandon Park and Flint Park Lake. This partnership not only provides additional services to our residents, but it also allows the City of Flint to focus their attention on other neighborhood parks.

Additional partnerships have added physical improvements to our parks as well as provided additional mowing services or reduced utility costs. Over the past year, partnerships have saved the City of Flint over $150,000 in mowing services, nearly $25,000 in utility costs, and added over $150,000 worth of new park equipment. This fall, partnerships will add over $240,000 worth of new playground equipment to Berston Field House, Mott Park, and Sarginson Parks.

The City of Flint has over 1,800 acres of land across 70 different public open spaces. Flint currently exceeds the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) recommendation of 10 acres per 1,000 residents by over 90%. The Imagine Flint Master Plan calls for a strategic investment in its parks with priority placed on parks located in neighborhoods with a large number of children or adjacent to active schools or community centers. 

The amount of revenue from the Parks Millage has been in steady decline, with a decrease of 60% ($466,000) over the last 7 years. In 2015, the Parks Millage brought in $314,000, 78% of which was spent on basic services like mowing 51 of the 70 parks 12 times a year and paying utilities at Berston Field House, and the Haskell and McKinley Community Centers. 

Given the decrease in the parks budget and revenue brought in by the Parks Millage, the number of staffing working in parks has declined sharply. Currently the City has 0.75 full-time staff dedicated to parks. This figure represents the combined time spent on parks by 3 full-time Planning & Development staff members, who have responsibilities other than parks as well. In 2001, the City had over 100 parks & recreation staff. That number was 65 in 2008, 30 in 2011, and reduced to less than 1 in 2015.

Current City of Flint Park Capital Improvements Projects

Grand Traverse Greenway Trail                                 $1,225,000

McKinley Park                                                                $300,000

Kearsley Park                                                                 $35,000

Unspecified Park Improvements**                            $85,000

Community Centers                                                      $100,000

~    Total: $2,620,000

Completed by City of Flint Since 2015                                   

Genesee Valley Trail                                                      $750,000

Riverbank Park                                                               $493,000

Max Brandon Park                                                          $87,500

Brennan Park (Phase 1 & II)                                           $85,500

Dewey/ Foss Pavilions                                                    $42,700

~    Total:  $1,458,700

Note:
*Does not include Chevy Commons, Flint River Restoration Project, or any projects completed by park partners.
**Brennan Park Phase III and other projects yet to be identified depending on cost of Brennan Phase III.

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Kristin Moore

About the Author:

Kristin Moore is the Public Information/Communications Director for the City of Flint. She spent years working as a TV news reporter and anchor in and outside of Michigan. A Flint native, Kristin is excited to now be part of the team working to move Flint forward!
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