Southern Lakes Parks and Recreation Draft Master Plan-1.png

 Residents have until Jan. 18 to submit input on the proposed Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation master plan for 2022-2027. 

 The most significant change in the plan is SLPR’s goal to acquire land for a park, or future parks, and construct a new recreation and administrative facility to house SLPR operations. 

 The “Five-Year Parks and Recreation Plan” is meant to be a tool to guide the development and preservation of park facilities and programs in a manner consistent with its mission of “establishing, maintaining and operating a system of parks, recreation facilities and programs,” according to the draft. 

 “While there are no significant changes to our goals in the plan, we have updated the objectives under each goal to reflect the progress of the last six years,” said Executive Director Ed Koledo. “Having a five-year master plan is a requirement of multiple grants and makes good business sense as an organization, that we have a long-range plan to move forward towards what our communities are telling us they want.”

What is SLPR?

 The Southern Lakes Regional Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District was founded in November 2000 by a vote of residents in Linden, Fenton and Fenton Township unde the the Metropolitan District Act, PA 312. Funds come from a 0.4 mil operating millage, which generated $484,000 in 2021. 

 SLPR provides youth programs for dozens of activities and sports, and the organization manages multiple community events, including the Fenton Farmers Market, the “Back to the Bricks” Tune-Up Parties in Fenton and Linden, concert programs by the Shiawassee River and the Fenton Street Experience. SLPR also provides community education programming to Fenton Area Public Schools. 

The master plan

 The plan will allow SLPR to apply for grants through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). In 2013, the State of Michigan recognized SLPR as a DNR Park Authority. The plan is divided into five categories: community description; administrative structure; parks, facility, and program inventory; planning process; basis for action; and action plan. 

 Currently, SLPR does not own its own properties. The current administrative offices and storage facilities are in the Fenton Community and Cultural Center (FCCC), while programming opportunities are offered in all school districts as well as the FCCC, according to the plan. 

 This area has approximately three dozen parks and other recreational facilities, including the non-motorized LAFF pathways. The plan rates each park on accessibility, lists available features and provides more information. 

Goals and objectives

 According to the plan, the top priorities ranked in order include; (1) Expand program opportunities in the SLPR service area; (2) Promote non-motorized connections throughout southern Genesee County and connect them to key destinations; (3) Continue partnerships with non-profits and education institutions; (4) Evaluate and pursue acquisition for park development; (5) New capital improvement project; (6) Continuing to modify programming to fit the demographics needs

 Koledo said he spends a lot of time on goals two and four. “Goals two and four require facilitating meetings with multiple organizations involved with planning, developing, and construction, as well as working to fundraise money and write for grants for the LAFF Pathway and potential park land,” he said. 

Community input 

 Community input was sought during the drafting process of this plan from a survey. 112 residents responded, with 37% living in Fenton Township, 33% living in Fenton, 12% living in Linden and 4% living in Argentine Township. Approximately 12% said they lived in a “other” municipality. 

 Approximately 78% support SLPR acquiring property to offer more programming and 21% do not. 88% want to see more development of non-motorized pathways compared to 11% who responded “no.”

 With the question, “Overall are you satisfied with the current programs offered by SLPR?” 76% said “yes” and 23% said “no.” The most popular categories people said they would participate in were “Canoeing, Kayaking/Paddle Boarding” and “Health/Fitness.” 

Send in opinions, concerns and questions 

 Residents can find the PDF online as well as printed copies at municipal offices. The public can submit notes in person or email them to contact_us@slpr.net. Call (810)-714-2011 with any questions. After the public review process, on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m., the SLPR Board will have a public hearing and look to finalize/approve the plan.

Budget

 SLPR’s recreation revenues experienced a sharp increase $394,404 in 2020 to $638,348 in 2021. Recreation expenses also increased in that time period from $402,313 to $645,646. 

 Revenues are expected to decrease and expenses are expected to rise in 2022, and SLPR anticipates a sharp decrease in net income. 

2020 budget summary

Total administrative revenues $476,310

Total recreation revenues $394,404

Total revenues $870,715

Total administrative expenses $313,201

Total recreation expenses $402,313

Total expenses $715,515

Net income $155,199

2021 approved budget summary

Total administrative revenues $495,700

Total recreation revenues $638,348

Total revenues $1,134,048

Total administrative expenses $392,189

Total recreation expenses $645,646

Total expenses $1,037,835

Net income $96,213

2022 approved budget summary

Total administrative revenues $517,864

Total recreation revenues $599,433

Total revenues $1,117,307

Total administrative expenses $557,090

Total recreation expenses $558,139

Total expenses $1,115,229

Net income $2,077

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