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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Kolo

What can we do if we vote YES on Parks, Rec, and Animals? (park edition)

It's almost election day! This year the City is asking residents to approve a millage of 0.70 mills or about $5.83 per month for the typical RO home to help fund improvements with our parks and rec services along with fully funding animal shleter operations. But what improvements could we make to parks if this millage passes?

The Parks/Rec/Senior Services advisory board has been hard at work this year seeking public input on how to make our parks better. We are nearly done with a new 5-year master plan that will guide the improvements we make both in the short term and well into the future.

Figuring out how to improve our 50+ parks was quite the undertaking. It started with an inventory of each site to determine the health of any equipment and features on-site.

And then we turned to the public to hear what you wanted. Our teams were at

community events ALL SUMMER collecting data from the public, including an online option for those who didn't make it out - with over 1000 unique website visitors. All told, we had some great input.

I was at many of these events and it was great to see so many people letting us know what they wanted at our parks!

80%+ of the respondents want us to improve and update our facilities

We need to work on more than just playground equipment! Flooded fields and playing surfaces (tennis, baseball, etc) need attention.

What are the ideas for each park?

This is really what you're here for, right? Below is the draft plan for each park. It's important to note that we are still taking public comments on these ideas and nothing will be final until December, but for the most part, this is what we have heard, and a timeline that the experts are recommending for improvements.

Scroll down to find a park. Click the park name for a slightly higher res and enlarged image

Courts, ball fields, playgrounds? What do they cost?

Basketball Court (roughly 580 SQ YD) = $81,460

  • Pavement Removal = $7,500

  • Concrete = $35,960

  • Court Surface Tile = $29,000

Tennis Court (roughly 860 SQ YD) = $133,740

  • HMA Paving & Aggregate Base = $57,620

  • Tennis Court Posts & Net = $3,900

  • Tennis Court Color Surfacing = $8,170

  • Tennis Court Chain Link Fence w/Gates = $43,000

  • Tennis Court Concrete Curb Edge = $10,800

  • Black Vinyl Chain Link Fence, 4’ Height = $10,250

Playground: Equipment = $80,000 - $200,000

Baseball Field = $118,500

  • Infield Mix (Washington Ball Mix) = $36,500

  • Backstop, benches and fencing = $82,000 Est.

What about the other stuff?

Park improvements don't stop at the facilities listed above. From a community pool to pickleball and tennis courts, a new dog park, and improved programming, we have identified other areas that also need attention.

Wrapping up...

We all love our parks - they are a point of pride for many Royal Oakers. After years of declining budgets during the recession of the early 2000s, this commission has started to reinvest in our parks.

The recent increase in investments has allowed us to bring new parks online (Normandy Oaks, Centennial Commons) and reimagine older parks (Sullivan, Franklin, Lawson), but we have more work to do. As of last year we had 6 million dollars in parks projects planned that we couldn't fund yet. This master plan has identified more needs and will only add to the capital we need to accomplish these community goals. I am going to vote YES on the Parks/Rec/Animals millage because I want to make sure this plan is funded and parks across the city are improved. I hope you do, too.


PS: I'm also voting yes on the Senior Services millage for many of the same reasons. Combined both are under 1 mill, or about $7.50 for the typical RO home. Find out more about Age-Friendly Royal Oak and what we could do with senior funding here

PPS: If you made it this far and want to read the draft parks plan yourself you can find it here


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