I am writing to make you aware of the rumored demise of the Clare County Parks and Recreation Commission. It is my understanding that CCP&RC will fall to the budget axe at the next Commission meeting when our appeal to continue to function will probably be denied by the Commission. First let me say that I hope that this decision is not motivated by past questions raised by one of its’ members.
As you are probably aware Clare County scored extremely low, among the 83 counties of Michigan, in health status and quality of life issues in some recent national studies. Given this undesirable notoriety, this hardly seems to be the time to discontinue a Commission that attempts to address recreation issues in all areas of the county. Improved physical activity leads to better health. CCP&RC members are the first to recognize that there is much to be done to improve recreational opportunities for all age groups within the county. Our meager resources, less than $30,000 last year, do not allow for much in the way of development of recreational resources. CCP&RC has attempted to leverage available funds through the joint development of opportunities with community partners. We have done this in many ways. Most recently Mid-Michigan Community College opened a recreational facility to the public based on a recommendation of our Master Plan. Partial funding for scholarships to the facility were provided by a grant from Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation at the request of CCP&RC. Extensive development of the Clare Rails-to-Trails is the result of cooperation of many partners as a result of CCP&RC initiatives. Most recently CCP&RC cooperated with the Village of Farwell to place bicycle racks, trash receptacles and benches near the Village Park. These improvements might not have been accomplished without the leadership of Parks & Rec Director Don Kolander. There are, of course, many other projects that have been completed as a result of CCP&RC initiatives. It is more important today, than ever before, that recreational resources be expanded not cut!
You and your readers can learn more about recreation in Clare County @ www.clarecountyrecreation.org This site hosted jointly by CCP&RC and ‘Friends’ provides residents and visitors to Clare County with a world of information on recreational opportunities in Clare County. It is important that you and your readers also be aware of the economic impact of CCP&RC! Our web site enjoys 100’s of hits each week from persons outside our area. These people are potential customers for hotels, restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores thereby adding to the financial well-being of our communities by bringing resources that provide jobs thus raising the standard of living in these difficult times. It is impossible to accurately determine the contribution to the financial well-being of the community but the good accomplished by CCP&RC far exceeds its’ meager $30,000 operating budget. I hope that a grass roots initiative to support the CCP&RC will open the eyes of those commissioners determined to decommission Parks& Recreation in Clare County!
5423 E. Dover Rd.